Jobless man who posed as businessman raped, robbed, extorted money from woman, court hears

An unemployed Hongkonger raped, robbed, and extorted almost HK$300,000 (US$38,400) from a woman by pretending to be a wealthy American businessman who lost his wallet and identity papers, a court was told.

Ko Wai-kin, 34, is on trial facing 13 charges including fraud (three counts), theft (two), robbery (one), blackmail (five), indecent assault (one), and rape (one) against the woman. He denied all charges against him in the first day of the trial on Friday, and appeared in court again yesterday, HK01 reported.

Prosecutors said Ko had been unemployed since 2013, and that he tricked his victim — a 26-year-old referred to in court as X — into making deposits, paying his rent, lending him money, and taking nude photos, which he then used to blackmail her into taking out loans.

X told the High Court that she first met Ko at a currency exchange outlet in Hong Kong International Airport, where she worked in September 2016, and handled a money exchange request from him. Back then, he introduced himself as Poon Man-tik (coincidentally, the same name as a Hong Kong footballer.)

X told the court that Ko returned to the money exchange a few days later on Sept. 9 claiming that he had lost his wallet and identity documents, was an American citizen, and needed money to stay at a hotel.

The woman not only agreed to help rent a room at the Grand Hyatt in Wan Chai, she also agreed to lend him HK$20,000 (US$2,560) to cover living expenses, and to buy a new Samsung Galaxy Note 7 (worth HK$6,420 or US$820), which he said wanted to gift to his nephew for graduating with first-class honors.

Ko promised X he would repay her the full amount in one go in two days via a wire transfer from his colleague in the US. X told the court that she thought to herself “never mind, I’ll help him this one more time,” as they visited the electronics store to buy the phone.

A few days later, Ko told X that there was an accounting issue with one of his companies in Australia. He tasked X with setting up a betting account with the Jockey Club so that he could store the HK$20,000 that she lent him at the hotel, then asked for another HK$20,000 to show his company accountant that he had the money to reward him for arranging the wire transfer.

Continuing her testimony at the High Court yesterday, X said she agreed to meet Ko at the hotel on Sept. 12 that year for breakfast in order to discuss repayment, Apple Daily, reports.

Ko then told her that in order to convince the company accountant that she had lent him money in the first place, he asked X to pose as his girlfriend in nude photos.

After he had done taking photos inside the hotel room, X said, Ko touched her breast, covered her head with a pillow and raped her.

After that incident, she told the court that Ko then persuaded her to take out a few loans from some banks to pay for rent at an apartment, HK01 reports.

X, fearing that the nude photos would be posted online, obliged, and borrowed about HK$70,000 (US$8,960) from a money lender called Promise, and HK$148,000 (US$19,000) from HSBC to pay for the rent at an apartment unit in Austin Road. Ko then signed a two-year contract for the apartment, which had a monthly rent of HK$16,000 (US$2,050), the court heard.

When they went to see the apartment, X tried to excuse herself by saying she needed to go home for an urgent family matter. A furious Ko accused X of trying to tell on him, and threatened not to repay her what was owed.

He also continued to blackmail X, asking her to take out more money, threatening that, if she did not, her nude photos would be sent to her family.

The trial continues.

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