Hong Kong Shipowners Association has urged members to exercise caution when dealing with individuals purporting to represent the Chinese government or mainland media — but whose real aim is fraud.
In an email on Friday, managing director Arthur Bowring said a “number” of members had reported such incidents.
“The individuals then ask if they can interview our members for various topical stories,” he said.
“We have checked the backgrounds of some of these individuals and found that their representations are fraudulent, and possibly made in an attempt to extort money as so-called ‘donations’ for various causes,” added Mr Bowring.
In addition to the general warning, HKSOA cited an example of an individual who allegedly had contacted HKSOA members under fraudulent credentials, claiming to represent the Economic Department of the Central Government Liaison Office in Hong Kong, or to be a correspondent for China Business Newspaper.
HKSOA said the individual had approached members ostensibly to discuss China’s 12th five-year plan and its impact on Hong Kong.
The Liaison Office had confirmed to HKSOA the individual was not on its staff and was not authorised to represent the government department.
The office, which is the main representative body of the Beijing government in Hong Kong, did manage to reach the individual concerned and had given him a warning to stop his activities, Mr Bowring said in the statement.
China Business News does not have an office in Hong Kong . Anybody misrepresenting themselves as reporters for the publication would be liable for future legal action, Mr Bowring said without specifying the source of the comment.
“We urge all members to check carefully the background and authority of any individuals who may approach them for interviews or to solicit donations,” the statement concluded.