SF Cops: Crooks Targeted Superstitious Asian Women

Vivian Ho, San Francisco Chronicle, May 18, 2012

What began as a scam targeting elderly Asian women in San Francisco who believed themselves cursed by bad luck has unfolded into a possible nationwide organized crime ring, police said Thursday.

San Francisco officers arrested five women last week who they believe targeted elderly Asian women and took advantage of their superstitions to bilk them out of a total of $850,000 in cash and valuables. The investigation led authorities to suspects who were involved in similar setups in New York, Boston and possibly Chicago, police said.

Police arrested the five women May 10 as they tried to board a plane for Hong Kong at San Francisco International Airport. In their luggage, authorities found about $50,000 in cash and jewelry, cell phones and foreign currency of unknown value.


Twenty-five women—13 of whom were over age 65—reported being swindled over the past few months in San Francisco by three middle-aged, Cantonese-speaking Asian women who claimed they could help them get rid of a curse or bad luck.

The suspects would approach women who were alone on the street and tell them they had ghosts or a curse attached to them. The only way to remedy the situation, the women were told, was to collect their money and jewelry and give it to the thieves, according to police.

One of the women would then place the valuables into a bag and perform a ritual over them. The con artists would tell their victims to place the bags under their beds for three days and that if they looked inside before then, the ritual wouldn’t work, said police Cmdr. Mike Biel.

When the victims finally looked inside, the bags were empty. {snip}

“The victims in this case are spiritual, they’re suspicious and they’re being taken advantage of,” Biel said. “They’re just trying to rid themselves of what they believe to be some sort of an ill spirit or bad luck they have in them.”


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  • anonymous_amren

    Health fraud, and superstitious nonsense, is one of the problems with North East Asian (and South East Asian, and South Asian) immigration. Normally it doesn’t get investigated or prosecuted, so it won’t show up on crime statistics. This particular crime was just unusually extreme.

    We should be campaigning against all alternative medicine and fraud, it’s another part of political correctness and anti-science anti-progress leftist propaganda, that I am sick to death of.

  • splitsing

    Same story in some form has been written, literally, every year since before the Chinese Exclusion Acts.  It made for fascinating vice crime reading in the newspapers back in the day.

  • Spartan24708

    This is pretty similar to the Gypsy fortune telling fraud that has been going around for years. A person who falls for this is usually pretty superstitious or easily manipulated to begin with since they are the one who goes to the psychic instead of being assaulted on the street. What starts out as a general psychic reading turns into the victim being told that a curse has been placed on them and the Gypsy is the only one who can remove it. After being bilked for all they can get out of the person they are dropped like a hot potato, broke and reeling from the experience. I had a friend in college who lost about 300 dollars as a poor college student but there are people who have lost in excess of 20,000 dollars before they realized they were being scammed. Not only do they want cash but people have bought them jewelry, expensive makeup, cars, luxury furniture and other household items the Gypsy ordered them to buy so that the curse might be removed. This group operates like any criminal gang- there is a “king” or “boss” that gets a percentage of the take and helps them out if they are in trouble. If any of them are arrested it is usually a low level member, they get a slap or the wrist or short jail sentence and are right back doing what they do. Since this is a cash “business” the con artist can say that he or she is “indigent” and qualify for a free attorney and not have to make restitution. When authorities are hot on their tail they switch from the psychic scam to welfare fraud or even the sweetheart scam. Third world behavior will bleed into first world countries if it is not stopped.

  • The__Bobster

    Ya gotta love those wacky Asians


    A “British” citizen in Bangkok has been arrested after Thai police found six roasted human foetuses packed in his luggage.

    Chow Hok Kuen, who is 28 and of Taiwanese origin, was held by police after the grisly discovery was made in Bangkok’s Chinatown district yesterday.

    Reports says the six foetuses had been covered in gold leaf after being roasted as part of a black magic ritual.

  • Johnny Reb

    What part of this qualifies as news . . . that orientals are getting ripped off (so what?) or that ignorant orientals are gullible enough to fall for this (is that surprising)?

    I read a lot of comments here about how marvellous orientals are, but they’re just a slightly different version of the negro.  No white can ever understand non-white behavior any more than we can understand the behavior of a rhinoceros.

    • The__Bobster

      I read a lot of comments here about how marvellous orientals are

      Just from people who are bedding them.

    • JohnEngelman

      I read a lot of comments here about how marvelous Orientals are.
      – Johnny Reb
      Asians commit violent crimes at about one quarter the white rate.
      – Jared Taylor, from “The Color of Crime”
      On average, Orientals are slower to mature, less fertile, and less sexually active, have larger brains and higher IQ scores…
      Hundreds of studies on millions of people show a threeway pattern. IQ tests are often made to have an average score of 100, with a “normal” range from 85 to 115. Whites average from 100 to 103. Orientals in Asia and the U.S. tend to have higher scores, about 106, even though IQ tests were made for use in the Euro-American culture… 

      Orientals had larger brains than Whites at birth, four months, one year, and seven years… 

      For the past twenty years I have studied race differences in brain size, intelligence, sexuality, personality, growth rate, life span, crime, and family stability. On all of these traits, Orientals fall at one end of the spectrum… 

      INTERPOL Yearbooks show the rate of violent crime (murder, rape, and serious assault) is four times lower in Asian and Pacific Rim countries than in African and Caribbean countries. Whites in the United States and in European countries are intermediate. The 1996 INTERPOL violent crime rates clearly show this pattern: Asian countries, 35 violent crimes per 100,000 people; European countries, 42; and African countries, 149. 

      – Professor J. Philippe Rushtonhttp://www.charlesdarwinresearch.org/Race_Evolution_Behavior.pdf  Professor Rushton has spoken at American Renaissance Conferences      

      Asian students have higher average SAT scores than any other group, including whites. A study by Princeton sociologist Thomas Espenshade examined applicants to top colleges from 1997, when the maximum SAT score was 1600 (today it’s 2400). Espenshade found that Asian-Americans needed a 1550 SAT to have an equal chance of getting into an elite college as white students with a 1410 or black students with an 1100.Top schools that don’t ask about race in admissions process have very high percentages of Asian students. The California Institute of Technology, a private school that chooses not to consider race, is about one-third Asian. (Thirteen percent of California residents have Asian heritage.) The University of California-Berkeley, which is forbidden by state law to consider race in admissions, is more than 40 percent Asian–up from about 20 percent before the law was passed.http://amren.com/news/2011/12/some_asians_col/

  • A fool and his(her) money are soon parted…

  • JackKrak

    Where’s the chorus of “the Asians are so smart”?

    Someone needs to explain to me how such smart people fall for the old “There’s a ghost attached to you but I’ll make it go away if you give me all of your money” routine.

    Sounds like something out of Haiti or Nigeria.

  • anmpr1

    Reminds me of all those white Christians who turn their money over to the church every Sunday.  But whites are smart.  They just do it a little at a time so no one will notice.

  • Spartan24708

    Don’t get me started on “alternative medicine”! I watched my grandmother suffer for several years with the stupid home remedies and refusing to change doctors for one who would actually do something. After she passed away we found thousands of dollars of quack medical products and supplements. Turns out she had a hairline fracture in her hip that had gone unhealed for years and this was what was causing her so much pain. At least the Asians are scamming other Asians- it is true that frauds come in all races and the people who are scammed are usually gullible in some way. At least the word is getting out to elderly people to watch for those who would prey on them.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    Also, Asians well know that other Asians tend to keep large amounts of cash, jewelry and gold in their homes rather than in safety deposit boxes at the bank.

    Apparently, many Asians don’t trust banks (well, in that respect they’re right).

    This is why in Southern California they are targeted by Asian gangs for violent home invasion robberies…I read about them all the time in the local paper — in fact, an Asian student recently checked into a friend’s school — straight out of camp, charged as a juvenile with home invasion..

    And, unlike black and Hispanic gangs, Asians are highly intelligent, very secretive and know how to keep quiet.  They don’t spray paint their nefarious activities all over the walls and brag all over town about their illegal activities.  A detective with the gang detail told us teachers they are some of the most difficult criminals to catch and convict.