Hong Kong airline worker denied bail over alleged face mask fraud

Arrivals Hall A at Hong Kong International Airport. Photo via Flickr/Gary Danvers.
Arrivals Hall A at Hong Kong International Airport. Photo via Flickr/Gary Danvers.

A Hong Kong airline worker was denied bail today after she was arrested for allegedly taking more than HK$3 million after falsely claiming she had face masks to sell amid the ongoing coronavirus scare.

On.cc reports that 32-year-old Sit Man-ying, a member of Cathay Dragon ground staff, was arrested in Tsing Yi on Saturday.

She appeared at Tuen Mun Magistrates’ Court today charged with taking property by deception. She wasn’t required to enter a plea, and the case has been adjourned until May 4, when it will be heard at West Kowloon Magistrates’ Court.

According to HK01, Sit allegedly claimed to a former classmate that she had surgical masks to sell in the midst of a panic-induced citywide shortage, and managed to obtain HK$3.32 million (US$427,000) from a friend between Feb. 15 and 22. However, the order of some 70,000 boxes of face masks never materialized, and the Cathay staffer allegedly cut off contact with the would-be buyer.

Meanwhile, health officials confirmed today that a 44-year-old driver has become the latest person to test positive for the coronavirus, bringing the number of cases in the city to 116.

Chuang Shuk-kwan, of the Centre for Health Protection, confirmed that the latest case — referred to as case 116 — is the employee of case 106, a businessman who recently tested positive after traveling to Paris and London.

At a regularly scheduled press conference this afternoon, Chuang said that case 116 picked up his boss from the airport on March 4 and took him home, and also drove him to the hospital a day later. He also lives with his boss, but after taking him to hospital, went back to his own apartment on Des Voeux Road West.

In the same press conference, the Hospital Authority’s Lau Ka-hin divulted that the 76-year-old female coronavirus patient who passed away on Sunday also had diabetes and high blood pressure.

Lau said that when the woman was first admitted to hospital on Feb. 28, she had low blood sugar, difficulty breathing, and a cough. She was admitted to an isolation ward after testing positive for COVID-19, and had been on three types of medicine since March 1.

“Starting from March 3, her oxygen level in [the] blood dropped,” Lau said. “Despite our help, the level continued to fall, and she was placed in the ICU and put on ventilator. At the ICU, we continued to give her antiviral medicine, but yesterday her condition worsened.”

The CHP’s Chuang, meanwhile, also confirmed that a 59-year-old COVID-19 patient’s dog has been taken in by personnel from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department. The pet’s isolation comes after a Pomeranian belonging to yet another confirmed patient repeatedly tested “weak positive” for the coronavirus, leading officials to believe it had contracted the disease from its owner.

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