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Friday, April 20, 2012

New Sketches Released of Suspects in Weird Chinese Ghost Scams

Posted By on Fri, Apr 20, 2012 at 3:45 PM

click to enlarge suspect_1.jpg

Last month, police warned residents in the Sunset District about this bizarre trend of older Asian women being victims of fraud schemes involving ghosts, bracelets, and purifying rituals.

At the time, they released sketches of three of the suspects, but now, police say they have updated sketches of the women whom they believe are responsible for these crimes.

According to police, there have been 21 reported instances involving the three female suspects. In each case, a Chinese woman on her own was approached on foot by three suspects described as 40- to-46 year-old. The suspects, who have been described as Cantonese-speaking Chinese women, would use superstition to dupe the victims into giving them her valuables.

click to enlarge suspect_2.jpg

In one case, a woman was told that she was cursed and had a ghost attached to her; one of the suspects, posing as an herbal doctor, advised

her to be "purified" along with all her valuables. Believing this to be

true, the victim went to her home and bank, collected her valuables, and

came back to the "herbal doctor," who then claimed to be performing a ritual over the sack of valuables.


suspects finally gave the woman back the bag, but told her not to look

inside just yet, lest she ruin the purifying ritual. What's

more, the woman told her if she did talk to anyone about it, the ghost

would attach to that other person. When the unfortunate victim later opened the bag, she found scraps of newspaper.

A forensic artist has compiled updated sketches of the suspects involved for release. The San Francisco Police Department is asking for the public's help in identifying the suspects.

Anyone with information in these cases is requested to contact Inspector Kim Lewis or Inspector Julie Yee of the Financial Crimes Unit at 553-1521, provide information anonymously at 575-4444, or text a tip at TIP411.

San Francisco Police have also established a Limited English Proficiency Tip Line for the public to provide information related to this investigation in Cantonese at 553-9212 or 1-855-SFPD-TIP.

click to enlarge suspect_3.jpg
Meanwhile, police are warning residents of the following:

  • Use caution when approached by any strangers under these described circumstances.

  • Do not allow strangers to touch you or your hands under these circumstances.

  • Do not speak to strangers offering good fortune or unusual offers.

  • Do not give money or valuables to be "purified"

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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