New crime tactic: ATM thuggery

Criminals in China seem to be learning from the west. Longhoo reports a disturbing new trend in which thugs working in groups will rush in when people are withdrawing money from ATM machines, push them out of the way, surround them, cause confusion and then drain their accounts.

A teary-eyed Mr. Lee told reporters yesterday of his encounter with some aggressive miscreants while withdrawing money.

“I just punched in my password when several men came up and pushed me, then forcibly started taking money out of my account. It took only a minute or so, there was nothing I could do.” Mr. Lee added: “I shouted 'stealing money, stealing money', but no one cared, and there was no security around either.”

Not a One time Occurrence

While reporting the incident to the cops, another man came in with the same story. Upon further investigation, police have learned that this tactic has been used in Nanjing several times.

For example, Ms. Kwok reported a similar act of violence. “ I was at an ATM about to complete my transaction, when a man came up to me in a panic saying, ‘I’m sorry my wife is about to have a baby, please get out of my way.’ I was about to curse him for being rude when 2 other men came up on either side of me blocking me and not letting me move, I could do nothing but watch as they drained my bank account. A minute latter and all 3 men were gone.”

Ms. Kwok said that while she was reporting the incident at the police station, another man came in with the same story.

Victims Ponder ATM Safety Status

“Banks have cameras at the ATM sites, there are security guards on duty, but why is it that when several men take control of an ATM user no one, not even a staff member tries to help, they only rely on the cameras?” Mr. Lee Questioned.

Ms. Kwok also questioned the bank’s security measures.

“I was controlled, shouting for help while struggling, but during the whole process, not one single security guard came to my aid, and I know there were security guards next to the ATM hall.”

Banks and cops offer solutions

1. Try not to withdraw money when you see a large mix of people around the ATM.

2. Try not to have too much money on one card. Carry a number of cards with smaller amounts of money, so even if you are robbed you will not lose too much.

3. If you carry large sums of money on your bank cards, make your transactions in the bank during working hours.

4. Take advantage of online banking, this is the best way to ensure your funds will be safe.

As these incidents increase in number, foreigners should be aware, especially because of the difficulty they will have in trying to identify Chinese assailants when thrust into a situation of confusion.

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