A Reply to the Hong Kong Police (Regarding Insurance-Linked Savings Scams)

I recently wrote a comprehensive article explaining insurance-linked savings scams, and I also started a petition asking the police to charge insurance companies with fraud. 

The police have replied by giving me a list of standardized questions, which I have answered below. 

Q&A

(a)        Where, when and how you obtained the information?

It is public information. Hundreds of thousands of Hong Kongers have been scammedThe magnitude of the problem can be verified by browsing through the statistics on OCI’s website

The policy brochures of most insurance-linked savings scams can be downloaded on the SFC’s website.

Two well-known scams are Zurich International’s Vista, and Standard Life’s Harvest 101 Investment Plan. You can download the policy brochures here:

Vista

Harvest 101 Investment Plan

(b)         Where, when and how the incident took place? 

Hundreds of people are being scammed everyday. It usually happens in coffee shops, restaurants, or people’s homes. Most salespeople are unqualified and inexperienced. They do not understand the products they are selling, otherwise they would not sell these products to their family and friends. The salespeople are purely motivated by very large sales commissions (a form of bribery).

(c)         Are you a victim of the incident?  If not, what was your role in the incident? 

I am not a victim, but many of my friends, colleagues, and acquaintances are victims. My role has been as an educator. Victims usually don’t realize they’ve been scammed until someone explains it to them.

(d)         Did you witness the incident?

Yes. It is daylight robbery. You can witness it too. Just read the policy documents of Vista and Harvest 101. You probably won’t understand on the first try (this is by design), so you should also read this guide to understanding the mechanics of the policies. The policies defraud investors out of as much as two years of savings.

(e)          What are the personal details of the persons(s) involved in the incident including their name, contact telephone number, etc.?

I have already supplied the names of several victims to a police officer and have offered to arrange meetings as soon as the officer tells me what time she is available.

(f)           What are your personal particulars such as name, address, contact telephone number, etc. that the investigating officers may later contact you?

This has already been supplied.

(g)           Any other additional information you can provide. 

Hong Kong’s insurance industry is self-regulated by HKFI, PIBA, and CIB. History has proven that filing complaints with these organizations is pointless. It’s a bit like asking bank robbers to give back the money and handcuff themselves. Thus, the police’s involvement is absolutely necessary.

Insurance companies and brokerages will argue that they have not committed fraud. They will point to the fact that policyholders signed a contract agreeing to be robbed.

This is not a valid argument. No one agrees to being robbed. The fee structure and account statements of products such as Vista and Harvest 101 are designed to conceal the robbery, and no one would purchase these products if they understood how they really worked.

It therefore follows that everyone who has ever been sold such products were misled, deceived, and defrauded.

NOTE: This message has been sent to the police and cc’d to all regulators and the media.

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