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More Filipinas arrested in ATM-linked money laundering

23 January 2021

By Vir B. Lumicao 

A fellow Filipina helped the accused to open accounts with HSBC, then took their ATMs away

At least four Filipino domestic workers have been arrested in an ongoing Hong Kong police investigation into a money laundering operation in which illicit money transfers were made using the women’s ATM accounts, the Consulate said.

Consul General Raly Tejada confirmed on Thursday night there had been arrests and that the Consulate is helping them.

"Yes I can confirm that merong mga nakasuhan at tinutulungan ngayon ng Konsulado,” ConGen Tejada said in response to an enquiry. (I can confirm that some people have been arrested and they are now being helped by the Consulate).

Pindutin para sa detalye

Consul Paulo Saret, head of the assistance to nationals section, said four Filipinas who were recently  had gone to the Consulate last weekend to seek assistance after they were released on bail.

He said the four claimed they were arrested after HSBC reported to the police that huge amounts of money were being moved in and out of their ATM-linked accounts in the bank.

Saret said the workers told the Consulate they had lost their ATM cards and were not aware these were later used to launder money obtained illegally. 


Unknown to him, two of those involved in the illicit operation had told The SUN that  they were duped by a Filipina member of the syndicate into lending their ATM cards to the scammers in January last year.

“All four of them told us that they lost their ATM cards and found out only during their arrest that these were used in illegal transactions,” Saret said.

One of the two women, C.P., was arrested on Jan 15 and was released on bail by police but was fired by her employer the next day. Her friend, M.N., was dismissed by her employers on Wednesday night for getting into the mess.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong Dream Love

C.P. and M.N. said they were enticed by another friend in January  last year to respond to an advertisement on Facebook offering part-time jobs that could earn them thousands in just weeks.

A fellow Filipina who replied to their enquiry told them they needed to have ATM accounts for payment of their earnings. Initially they would be paid $500 each, but it turned out that was all they would get for the scam that cost them their jobs.

The ATMs were used to launder money by unknown people

When the woman learned they had no ATM accounts, she told the two to get in touch with another Filipina who would help open accounts at HSBC for them.


M.N. said they were told that they needed to open an account with the bank to receive money.

When she asked if they could use the ATM to operate their account, the other Filipina reportedly said yes, “Oo, magagamit mo 24/7.” (Yes, you can use it 24/7).

M.N. said, “E di masaya ako dahil may ATM na ako, magkakapera pa ako.” (So, I was happy, because not only would I get an ATM, I would also earn money).

Pindutin para sa detalye

So, later that same month, C.P., M.N. and a friend went to an HSBC branch in a place they said they could not remember and met the Filipina who was to assist them. She coached them on what to say to the teller.

Ganito ang gawin nyo ha. Ito answer nyo, sabihin nyo sa teller na kailangan makuha nyo rin ngayon ang ATM dahil gagamitin nyo bukas.” (This is what you’ll tell the teller. Tell her you have to get the ATM cards today because you’ll be needing them tomorrow.)

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But after the cards were issued the woman collected the ATMs as well as the PIN codes. She told them some businessmen needed to keep the cards for about a week and they would receive further payments in return.

The Filipina helpers claimed they were never given access to their bank accounts.

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