Constable Kevin Liang Deng joined Police to help his community - and helping them he is.
When Kevin learned of two members of the Chinese community being scammed, he involved two of Police’s liaison officers in the Far East, with the result that the victims got some of their money back.
Scam victims from ethnic communities often call the Tāmaki Makaurau Ethnic Services team directly - and Kevin always attends to their calls.
He has been working in the Tāmaki Makaurau Ethnic Services team for five years alongside Ethnic Responsiveness Manager Jessica Phuang QSM.
“In my 20 years working in this area, we’ve never seen money been retrieved from these scams,” says Jessica.
“But recently two victims have got some of their money back – thanks in part to Kevin and the assistance of our overseas police counterparts.”
She says the Chinese community has been a main target among the ethnic communities, especially for overseas-based scammers who contact victims via social media and direct phone calls.
“Some have lost money ranging from a few thousand dollars to some losing over NZ$1 million.”
After hearing of a recent scam attempt, Kevin communicated promptly with Police Liaison Officers, Superintendents Gary Allcock and Hamish McCardle, stationed in Beijing and Hong Kong respectively.
All three worked closely with the Ministry of Public Security in China and Hong Kong Police to try to freeze the scammers’ accounts. Kevin liaised with the victims and advised them on next steps, resulting in the retrieval of some of their money.
Constable Kevin Liang Deng, left, and Superintendents Hamish McCardle and Gary Allcock.
“Where a victim sends money to a Hong Kong-based scam account, victims are encouraged to not only report their concerns to their bank as fast as possible, but also to the Hong Kong Police via their online reporting page, and to New Zealand Police,” says Hamish.
“The quicker these reports can be made the better chance banks and authorities have to stop the scammed money being transferred to third party or fourth party jurisdictions, frustrating chances of tracking where the cash goes.”
Gary says such successes are a really positive step to establish trust and confidence within ethnic communities, especially the Chinese community.
“This recent success demonstrates the positive relationship and commitment of New Zealand Police and Chinese agencies to work together to combat scams,” he says.
As a result of his good work Kevin was prompted to formalise a Scam Communication Process (SCP) to guide Police staff through the appropriate steps and worked with Auckland-based Detective Inspector Bridget Doell, the Financial Crime Group and other Police teams.
“Within a week of this beginning, I dealt with six scams which are now being investigated in both Hong Kong and China,” says Kevin.
“I’ve identified 30 Chinese organisations across Tāmaki Makaurau who could be victims of fraud and will be conducting scam seminars with them – my plan is for them all to be completed by end of this year.”
Jessica says Kevin is developing pamphlets – to be translated into Chinese - to warn of the various scams, such as romance scams on social media, investment scams, currency exchange, blessing scams and even fake kidnappings.
“I’m extremely proud of the work Kevin’s done to make this happen.”