Jobless Hong Kong man posed as American businessman and raped, robbed and extorted almost HK$300,000 from woman, court is told
An unemployed Hong Kong man raped and robbed a woman and blackmailed her into paying him close to HK$300,000 (US$38,346) after posing as a rich American businessman who had lost his wallet and identity papers, prosecutors told a court on Friday.
But Ko Wai-kin, 33, has denied all 13 charges of fraud, theft, robbery, blackmail, indecent assault and rape – all in relation to the same victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
Opening her case against Ko, prosecutor Liza Yip said that he had been unemployed since 2013, relying on deception and gambling to make a living.
She accused Ko of tricking the woman into making deposits and taking nude photos, which she said he then used to blackmail her into taking out loans, paying his rent and lending him more money.
The case involved close to HK$300,000.
The High Court heard that the pair first crossed paths at the bureau de change in Hong Kong International Airport where the woman worked in early September 2016, when she handled a money exchange request from Ko.
Testifying against Ko, the 26-year-old recalled that he returned with luggage in hand on September 9.
“Do you recognise me?” she quoted Ko as saying. “I need your help, I’ve lost my wallet.”
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The woman claimed that Ko told her he was an American citizen who needed money to stay at a hotel because he was stranded in the city after losing his identity documents.
She agreed to help and rented a room at the Grand Hyatt in Wan Chai.
There, she said, he made a second request for HK$20,000 (US$2,556) to cover his living expenses, which he promised to repay in two days by asking his colleague to wire money from the United States.
Having pocketed the money, he then told her that he wanted to buy a phone as a gift for his nephew for graduating with first-class honours and that he would pay her back in one go.
“I thought to myself, ‘Never mind, I’ll help him this one more time,’” the woman said as she recounted their trip to an electronics store for a Samsung Galaxy Note 7, worth HK$6,420 (US$820).
At the time, she was earning a monthly salary of about HK$13,000 to HK$20,000 and saving up to pay tuition fees.
“What made you think he would pay you back?” prosecutor Liza Yip asked.
“He claimed to hold a high position in an American company,” she replied. “I thought he was capable. He didn’t check the exchange rate board when he changed currencies.”
Over the next few days, he asked her to set up a Jockey Club betting account for him to store the HK$20,000 because he did not have a wallet, and requested another HK$20,000 deposit to show his company accountant he had the money to reward him for arranging the wire transfer, she said.
When the money was deposited, she said, he snatched the account card from her with a fierce look on his face.
She said he then arranged for them to meet at his hotel room to discuss repayment after telling her that she “would not lose a cent”.
But she was told that she would have to pose as Ko’s girlfriend in nude photos to convince the company accountant that she had lent him money in the first place.
It was then Ko touched her breast, spread her legs and penetrated her while covering her head with a pillow, she said.
“I shouted in pain,” she continued, her voice at times muffled behind the screen. “He withdrew and asked me not to talk about this … then he covered [his genitals] with a towel and asked me to look away while he dressed.”
Her testimony continues in a jury trial before Madam Justice Maggie Poon Man-kay.