December 13, 2012
New Information and Photos added to Previous News Release
Further Information Sought Concerning Four “Persons-of-Interest” in Connection to a Los Angeles Chinatown Religious Fraud
Los Angeles: The Los Angeles Police Department’s Asian Crimes Detectives are asking for the public’s help to identify a group of Chinese speaking suspects who duped an unsuspecting female Chinese victim into handing over her savings in Los Angeles Chinatown.
On November 26, 2012, an elderly woman was approached by a Chinese female suspect, who asked the woman for directions to a “religious healer.” The woman was standing near the Metro Gold Line Station, situated at Alameda Street and College Street. While the victim was conversing with the female, a second Chinese female suspect approached and interjected herself in the conversation. The second suspect indicated that she knew where a healer was and agreed to lead both women to him. Shortly thereafter, a Chinese male suspect approached the three women and identified himself as the grandson of the religious healer.
As the male was talking with the group he looked directly at the elderly woman and told her that he could predict that her son would encounter a fatal accident in three days. To avert such tragedy, the man told the woman she must gather all valuables from her home and bank in order for the valuables to be blessed by the male suspect’s grandfather.
Concerned for her son’s personal safety, the elderly woman withdrew a large sum of cash from her bank account and stored it inside her purse. With cash in hand, the woman again met with the three people that approached her earlier. The three suspects distracted the woman by engaging her in conversations concerning the works of the miracle healer and the woman’s son. At this time the male discretely exchanged the cash inside the victim’s purse with a bag of groceries. He then told the victim, who had never met with the religious healer, to return home because his grandfather had already finished the prayer for her son and remedied the misfortune that her son would have faced. When the victim returned home, she discovered her cash was missing from her purse. The victim immediately reported this crime to police. All three suspects were described as Chinese and spoke with the “Toi San” dialect.
During the course of their investigation, detectives have ascertained that crimes with a similar method of operation occurred in sections of New York, San Francisco and subsequently in Los Angeles. Detectives are advising members in the Chinese communities to raise the level of awareness when they are approached by individuals who claim to ward off misfortune through the use of prayer by healers while holding onto one’s cash or valuables.
Anyone with information about this crime or the suspects are asked to call Detective Ken Yueng, Asian Crime Unit, at 213-486-5350. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (1-877-527-3247). Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477). Tipsters may also contact Crime Stoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters may also go to www.lapdonline.org, and click on "Anonymous Web Tips.”