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Joint Media Release - Local Chinese community warned about extortion scam

Posted 15 January 2010 by (Hurstville News)

Several families in the Hurstville local government area have received calls claiming that their son or daughter has been kidnapped and that a ransom of $50,000 must be paid immediately.

Minister Greene said that whilst most residents realised it was a scam, some families had fallen victim to the elaborate and emotive ruse.

“Unfortunately, these types of phone calls are on the increase and I urge all local Chinese residents to be wary,” he said.

“The calls usually begin with a child crying and screaming for help followed by a Mandarin-speaking male demanding the ransom, which is to be sent to an overseas account in China, Taiwan or Hong Kong.

“If you cannot confirm that it is your child on the phone and/or the ransom is negotiable, it is more than likely an extortion attempt.”

Mayor Sansom said whoever is responsible for the scam is using internet-based VoIP phones (Voice over Internet Protocol).

“As these devices are very difficult to track, the perpetrators are currently avoiding detection,” he said.

"However, I urge all residents who are targeted to contact Hurstville Police immediately.”

Minister Greene and Hurstville City Council, along with Hurstville Police and Chinese Australian Services Society (CASS), jointly hosted a community safety forum for the Chinese community in October last year.

The forum aimed to educate Chinese residents about public safety and to help reduce the fear of crime.

The event also highlighted what community members can do and who they can turn to should they be a victim of a crime.

For more information or to report a threatening call, telephone Hurstville Police on 9375 8599.

Member for Oatley

Kevin Greene MP

Mayor of Hurstville

Cr Philip Sansom

[ends]

Media contact:
Cr Clifton Wong 0411 745 252
Tanya Abraham 0411 748 953