Inspector Chen knocked on he door as he arrived at the address he had been
given. The police had just been alerted about a rogue company that was harassing
a 65-year-old widow. Her civic-minded neighbors, Simran Rathode and Sri Kalyani,
had made the report on behalf of her when she lost $10,000 to the company and
was too embarrassed to go to the police.
"Madam Yu ?" he asked when the door
opened to reveal a bespectacled, white-haired woman. "Yes," she nodded with a
Inspector Chen explained the purpose of his visit and she let him
in. "If there's anything wrong, we could help," he concluded as he sat on the
chair she had offered.
"See all these," Madam Yu pointed to a small water
purifier, bottles of vitamins and other merchandise piled beside her cupboard.
"A few months ago, I received a call from WinMax HK, a telemarketing company.
They said I had won a prize in their lucky draw but to qualify for bigger prizes
-- overseas trips or even a bungalow -- I had to purchase additional products
from them. And so, I bought but didn't win."
The company, however, had
pestered her to enter new lucky draws. "I keep telling them to stop but they
wouldn't," she said, looking embarrassed.
Inspector Chen listened
sympathetically. "We can tap their calls," he said, explaining that the law
allowed telephone conversations to be taped with the consent of one party. "I've
the device in my car." Madam Yu agreed, and
the inspector hooked up the device.
He was bout to leave when the telephone
rang. Madam Yu signaled to him that it was 'them'. As she spoke, h could tell
from the tone of her voice that she was very distressed. When she hung up two
minutes later, she was on the verge of tears. he calmed her down as he had
clearly heard the saleswoman, Alice Thien, berating the old woman.
Back in his
office, Inspector Chen called the WinMax hotline and was put through to an Edwin
Choy who claimed to be the customer service manager. The inspector explained the
incident and cautioned, "It will be wise of your company not to call Madam Yu
"I'll take care of it," Edwin assured. "Thanks for calling !"
rogue sales people," Inspector Chen thought. "At least it won't go on any
further," he shook his head, relieved.
An hour later, Madam Yu called. Alice
had called her to inform her that Inspector Chen had bought their merchandise
and was taking part in their lucky draw too ! The inspector assured her it was
not true, and decided to tape more of WinMax's telephone conversations on Madam
Yu's line. With this weapon, he hoped to have Alice and Edwin charged with
extortion as well as for swindling others.