Good looking gang enticed Metro passengers into giving them money

A gang of 10 has been detained for allegedly defrauding the passengers with the excuse that they were short of funds needed to travel out of town.

The young men were about 25 years old, decently dressed and good looking — and they used hard luck stories to con female public transport passengers.

The suspects have defrauded at least 105 people of over 200,000 yuan (US$30,500) from around the country,  Shanghai included, since March, police said.

The gang of 10 has been detained in the city for defrauding Metro passengers with the excuse that they were short of money for traveling out of town, Shanghai Metro police said on Thursday.

Police started investigation last month after a woman reported that she was defrauded of 3,500 yuan in such a manner by a man at Zhenping Road Station in Shanghai.

The 22-year-old woman surnamed Lei said a man approached her at the station on August 15 asking her for money to fly to Beijing, claiming that his wallet was stolen.

He claimed to be a salesman working for an insurance company in Beijing and had come to Shanghai to collect a prize his company had given him, Lei recalled. He allegedly even showed her a video in his phone of himself on a stage.

“He looked anxious, helpless and sorry to ask for money from a stranger,” Lei said. “I didn’t give much thought why a plane ticket from Shanghai to Beijing would cost that much.”

Lei gave him 300 yuan in cash, 3,000 yuan she withdrew from an ATM machine and 200 yuan via WeChat, but the suspect quickly unfriended her on WeChat.

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Lei was shown on a surveillance camera at Zhenping Road Station at an ATM machine with the suspect.

Lei called the police after a sleepless night.

“When I told my friends that I was defrauded, they were sorry about my loss but none encouraged me to call the police,” she said. “But I decided to tell them about it.”

The man who allegedly defrauded Lei, surnamed Dai, was caught with nine others in a hotel in Shanghai at the end of last month.

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Police netted the gang at a hotel in Shanghai at the end of August.

All of the suspects have confessed that they defrauded people at Metro stations, police said.

Police said the gang worked in teams of up to three people at a time and in most cases defrauded people of 200 to 500 yuan at a time.

“Suspects in such cases are usually young men about 25 years old, decently dressed and good looking, who target women from 15 to 30 years old,” said Dong Hanke, a police officer from Shanghai Railway Station Metro Police Station, which covers Zhenping Road Station who handled the case.

Dong said only about 30 of the estimated 105 victims in this case reported to the police after being defrauded.

“Most victims were too ashamed to let others know that they had been conned or didn’t mind about losing a small amount of money,” he said.

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