Apple Daily employee received threatening call claiming to be from ‘national security office’

2021.05.17
Apple Daily employee received threatening call claiming to be from national security office

An Apple Daily employee has received a call from a man claiming to be from the central government’s national security office in Hong Kong, threatening “trouble” if he failed to attend a meeting at the office address.

The Mandarin-speaking man, calling from a number with the Hong Kong prefix +852 on Monday, was able to say the person’s name and the last four digits of his Hong Kong identity card number. However, he did not mention his role at the newspaper.

He requested the employee’s “cooperation in an investigation” at the office’s premises in Causeway Bay. Failure to turn up would lead to “a lot of trouble,” he said.

The man only gave his name but not his role in the office when asked about his identity. The Apple Daily employee hung up on him.

Police had previously warned of scam calls with the prefix +852. Many of these numbers were spoofed to make them appear to be from Hong Kong when in fact they originated from overseas, they said.

Police had received 15 cases of phone scams last year in relation to the national security law, which came into effect on June 30, 2020.

In one of them, a 65-year-old woman was asked to pay to prove her innocence. She provided her online bank account details and the scammer transferred HK$2.2 million (US$283,000) out of her account. Police managed to intercept HK$100,000 of the sum.

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