The Vancouver Police are appealing to victims of recent “Blessing Scams” to come forward and identify their jewelry.
In early 2013 The Vancouver Police Department and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) joined forces to try and identify organized crime groups entering into Canada specifically to defraud and extort elderly Chinese women through what was labeled the “Blessing Scam”.
On July 15th, 2013 the CBSA alerted the Vancouver Police Department, Financial Crime Unit that five Chinese nationals suspected of being involved in the “Evil Spirit or Blessing Scam” were leaving Canada from Vancouver International Airport for Hong Kong.
The suspects were checked by CBSA officers and found to be in possession of $138,000 in undeclared cash and over 400 pieces of jewelry.
The five Chinese nationals were identified as, HUO Youjun, LIN Xiaoqiong, LUO Shaoqiong, WU Jianmei and YANG Yajian.
Vancouver Police with the help of the media were able to locate three victims living in Montreal, Toronto and Calgary. These victims that identified pieces of jewelry belonging to them that were in the possession of the five accused.
In each case the victim was an elderly Chinese woman who was told by three female suspects that harm would befall her son or grandson by an evil spirit if she did not have her money and valuables blessed by them. During the blessing the suspects would switch the bag of money and valuables with a bag of worthless items. The victim would be told not to tell anyone of the blessing and not to open the bag until months later.
The five accused were each charged with three counts of possession of stolen property.
All five accused were convicted and sentenced to one day imprisonment with the consideration that they had been incarcerated for 56 days already.
The Vancouver Police Department would like to take this opportunity to thank the CBSA, the Chinese Community Policing Centre, Calgary, Montreal and Toronto Police Services and especially the media for all their help in highlighting this crime and bringing the five accused to justice.
Vancouver Police are still in possession of a large quantity of jewelry seized from the accused and want to return these items to their rightful owners. In 60 days from today’s date, the jewelry will be disposed of. With that in mind we are making a final appeal for other victims to come forward and identify their jewelry. If the hesitation is due to the fear of having to attend court, please be assured that none of the victims will need to attend court as all five accused have been convicted. Please contact the Vancouver Police Department’s Financial Crime Unit at 604-717-2569.