The Eastern Magistrates' Court. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Hong Kong has been hit by a spate of Filipino visitors allegedly claiming to have access to vast sums of wealth from the Marcos era.

Three such cases are now pending in the District Court, sunwebhk.com reported, adding that a fourth was filed on June 28 in the Eastern Magistrates’ Court.

The latest case involves three Filipino tourists who were charged with using false instruments. This followed their arrest three days earlier for allegedly presenting a forged bank draft for US$5 billion at HSBC headquarters on Hong Kong Island.

The three defendants are 57-year-old Elmer P. Soliman, 31-year-old Eric Jude P. Soliman and 46-year-old Eliseo L. Martinez.

The Solimans, who claimed to be a secretary and an engineer, had applications to post bail to the amounts of HK$1,600 (US$204) and $1,800, rejected by Magistrate Peter Law. Martinez, who claimed to be a lawyer, did not apply for bail.

The prosecutor said the three arrived in Hong Kong on June 24 and checked into the Kimberley Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui. On June 25, the trio, along with two other unidentified persons, reportedly went to Room 32 in the HSBC main office on 1 Queens Road Central.

The court heard that there, Elmer Soliman talked to a female staff member and asked to open a bank account. When the bank worker requested a deposit with which to open the account, Martinez produced a government bank draft for US$5 billion.

Suspecting forgery, the bank alerted the police, and the three defendants, as well as their two companions, were arrested.

The prosecution said a follow-up raid at the trio’s hotel room on the same day yielded a purported letter of confirmation from an HSBC executive stating that the US$5 billion bank draft was genuine.

Magistrate Law adjourned the hearing until August 9 pending a police review of bank surveillance camera footage and examination of the seized documents.

Meanwhile, a 60-year-old defendant Brudencio J. Bolanos appeared at the Eastern Magistrates’ Court on June 26 charged with one case of using a false instrument.

The Filipino tourist was arrested after on April 9 he allegedly tried to deposit a bank draft to the value of US$943 billion. The draft was  purportedly issued by HSBC in 1983.

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