Police have detained an American suspected of using fake credit cards to appropriate over US$71,000 from foreign cardholders at a domestic bank in south-central Vietnam last week. Police officers in Khanh Hoa Province on Sunday arrested Yang Qing, 43, a Chinese American, on charges of “using information on bank accounts or cards of agencies, organizations and individuals to pay for goods and services to appropriate property of cardholders,” pursuant to Article 226b of the Penal Code. The arrest was made after police launched an investigation based on a report received on July 1 from the local branch of the Agriculture and Rural Development Bank of Vietnam saying that someone could have used credit cards to withdraw a large amount of money from the bank. These signs were detected when 42 payments were made in a row on June 30 through the same Point of Sale (POS) machine installed at Huong Viet Restaurant at 1 Tran Hung Dao Street, Loc Tho Ward, Nha Trang City, the bank said in its report. The total amount withdrawn through the POS amounted to VND1.554 billion ($71,250), Colonel Truong Vinh Quang, head of the security and investigation agency of Khanh Hoa Police, cited the bank as saying. After identifying Yang, who was staying at a hotel in the ward, as the suspect, police raided his hotel room yesterday and detained him for investigation. On searching the room, police seized a laptop, a credit card scanner, three electronic devices, numerous international credit cards, 935 Chinese yuan, 23,000 Myanmar kyat and $86.
Yang confessed to police that he arrived in Vietnam to appropriate money from cardholders by using fake cards. He told police that on June 30, he and an interpreter ate at Huong Viet Restaurant.
Yang then asked the restaurant owner, Nguyen Thi Thu Huong, to join him in a scam in which he used the POS at the eatery to transfer the money of cardholders to the account of the restaurant by using fake credit cards. The owner agreed and Yang made false payments for 50 bills for meals eaten at the restaurant at a total amount as mentioned, he said. The Huong Viet boss then kept VND700 million ($32,100) of the total as her commission in the fraud and Yang then transferred the remaining amount to his various accounts for appropriation, the foreigner added.
The Chinese American said his fake cards were created by using information stolen from real cardholders by others abroad, who then provided such information for him. Police said they are clarifying the relations between Yang and Huong and expanding their investigation into the case to identify his victims. Two banks in the U.S. have found three victims who lost money from their credit accounts used by Yang, police said.