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Filipinas arrested as HK police probe ATM money laundering scam

22 January 2021

By Vir B. Lumicao 

3 Filipina DHs were arrested after their ATM cards from HSBC were used to launder money

An undetermined number of Filipino domestic workers have been arrested as the Hong Kong police has begun investigating a money laundering operation in which illicit money transfers were made using the workers’ ATM accounts.

Last night, Consul General Raly Tejada confirmed 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


One of the two Filipinas who claimed they were deceived into lending their ATM cards to an operative of the syndicate was arrested on Jan 15. The woman, C.P., was released on bail by police but was fired by her employer the next day.

On Wednesday night, her friend M.N., who was so scared the police would pick her up any time, was dismissed by her employers for getting into the mess.

C.P. and M.N. told The SUN that 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.

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

Sabi niya may kakilala daw siya na mag-open ng account sa bangko at magkakapera daw ako. Sabi ko, Ah ganun? Magkakapera daw ako? Magagamit ko naman yung ATM?” recounted M.N., the more talkative of the two.

Pindutin para sa detalye

(She said she knows somebody at the bank who can open the accounts for us. Is that so, I asked. I’d be earning money? Will I be able to use my ATM?)

Oo, magagamit mo 24/7, sabi niya. E di masaya ako dahil may ATM na ako, magkakapera pa ako,” she said. (Yes, you’ll use it 24/7, she said. I was so glad because I’ll be having an ATM account and be earning at the same time.) 

The 3 victims say a fellow Filipina helped them to open an account with HSBC 

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

After the cards were issued, the woman reportedly collected them as well as the PIN codes. She told them some businessmen needed to keep the cards for about a week and the helper would be receiving further payments in return.


Days later they received emails on their phones from the bank showing that $50,000 or $30,000 was deposited to their accounts, M.N. said. They began to worry and told the woman about the large deposits.

Ang sabi kasi, ibibigay daw $500. Nagugulat kami kung bakit may ganito kaming kalaking pera. Tapos may nagmi-message na hindi ko kakilala. Nakalimutan ko kung magkano yun, $50,000 o $30,000. Sabi niya, huwag kayong matatakot,” said M.N. (We were told we’d be paid $500. We were surprised we had such big amounts. Then someone I didn’t know would call. He told us not to worry.)


The helpers claimed they had no idea it was money laundering until police came to arrest C.P. in her employer’s flat in Tseung Kwan O.

Natataranta ako sa takot noon. Pumasok ako sa kuwarto at gusto kong tumalon,” C.P.  said. (I panicked out of fear. I went into my room and wanted to jump out.)

During investigation, she told police she didn’t know about the big money transactions because she had lost her ATM card.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong Dream Love

The more frantic of the three helpers was M.N., whose voice trembled as she related how her mother had fallen sick from worrying, after learning that she lost her job. She said her family advised her to go home as soon as possible. 

C.P., on the hand, had fallen silent.

As a result of the arrests, the Filipino community was reminded by the Consulate to take care of their ATM cards and not to entrust the PIN or personal identification number of the cards to other persons who could use these for illegal transactions.




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