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Bizarre Hoax – Fraudsters In St Ann’s Square

The mysterious Dr Wong, a fake ritual, a bag switch and water bottles link police to four incidents

Published on March 12th 2013.

Bizarre Hoax – Fraudsters In St Ann’s Square

A number of Chinese women were tricked out of thousands of pounds and jewellery by a trio of con artists last month, according to Greater Manchester Police. Try and get your head around this...

The victim was then told to gather as many of her valuables as she could so that a ritual could be performed to protect her. She returned with £2,000 in cash and jewellery valued at £600.

A 40-year old victim was approached by a woman asking for her help to find a Chinese herbalist known as 'Dr Wong' on Saturday 23 February, between 11.45am and 2.45pm in St Ann’s Square. While speaking to the offender, a second woman appeared and joined in the conversation, claiming she might be able to locate the doctor.

A third woman appeared and joined the group, claiming she was the granddaughter of 'Dr Wong' and said that 'Dr Wong' was not available that day but said she would speak to the doctor on her behalf before leaving.

The victim remained with the group and minutes later, the ‘granddaughter’ re-joined them and told the victim that her husband would die within three days.

The victim was then told to gather as many of her valuables as she could so that a ritual could be performed to protect her. She returned with £2,000 in cash and jewellery valued at £600 which was placed in a black carrier bag while the ritual was performed. At some point the bag was switched. She was then told to go home and not open the bag for at least a month.

It was only several days later that the victim realised the valuables had been replaced with bottles of water wrapped in newspaper.

The claim about her husband was false and he had no known illness.

The offenders are described as being Chinese women, with a medium build and aged in their early 40s.

Police are also investigating similar incidents that occurred on 21, 28 December 2012 and 18 February 2013 in the same area. Again, money and jewellery was stolen and replaced with drinks bottles.

Detective Constable Michelle Wilkinson from the Economic Crime Desk at Greater Manchester Police said: "This is not the first time this type of incident has happened and it would appear that the offenders are deliberately targeting their own community by taking advantage of their trusting and superstitious nature.

"Our advice to anyone who is approached by these women is not to talk to them or have any form of engagement. While out and about in town keep valuables close and never hand them over to a stranger. If you still feel unsafe make your way to a nearby shop and ask for help.

"If you know who is committing these crimes or see anything suspicious, please contact the police on 101 or ring Crimestoppers on 0800 555111."

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9 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AVOMarch 13th 2013.

If the victim is stupid and gullible enough to fall for that stupid charade, she deserves all she gets (or doesn't get) as tthe cae maybe.

AVOMarch 13th 2013.

In fact, I'm going to dress up as an elderly, rich looking oriental woman and loiter around St Ann's square to see if I get approached by three chinese hustlers and then give them a good kicking.

Bilbo BobbinsMarch 13th 2013.

with Avo here, its a Darwinian thing. Lets get rid of the stupid people...

JoanMarch 13th 2013.

Also in St Ann's Square, the Royal Exchange's current and superb sell-out production of Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird". Many people's famous book, it includes an unbeatable quote from lawyer and father Atticus: "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view - until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."
It's certainly a difficult climb to understand what has happened here, but belief systems have amazing power and can lead people into what appears to be extremely irrational behaviour. Really hope these criminals are caught, and soon.

Manc GuyMarch 13th 2013.

Oh dear!...perhaps Morrissey was right after all. What next...African fraudsters target fellow Africans on Piccadilly Gardens using voodoo and fake mumbo jumbo?

Steve5839March 13th 2013.

No, econominc migrants will see the light, become honest and return home.

ChorltongalMarch 14th 2013.

Tool! At least the price of her husband not dying wasn't a tiger's wang or rhino's earlobe or whatever they are grinding down in their ritualistic 'medicine' these days.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
neiljdonaldMarch 14th 2013.

The use of the word "wang" in a story about Dr Wong is genius...

ChorltongalMarch 14th 2013.

I'd love to say it was deliberate but it's actually entirely unintentional. I'm generally not that witty :-(

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