Hong Kong woman loses HK$180m in online romance scam
07 September 2018 – A 66-year-old businesswoman lost over HK$100 million to a boyfriend she had never met in what police described as the biggest case of online romance scam involving a Hong Kong victim.
The victim, who lives in Mid-Levels, is the head of a property investment company. Her husband, who had built the business with her, died in 2013, and she later started making friends on Lovestruck, an online dating site.
In April 2014, she met on the site a man with Asian features who claimed to be an engineer from the United Kingdom and quickly fell in love with him.
After about a month, the man, who claimed to be traveling a lot to take care of his many businesses in different countries, asked her for financial help, saying that his company was in financial trouble with its assets frozen and he needed money to turn things around.
Without doubting his words, the woman started sending him money, although she had never met him in person.
As instructed, she transferred money to his bank accounts in Europe, the United States, Malaysia, Japan and China in over 200 transactions that amounted to HK$180 million as of July this year. The amounts ranged from several hundred thousand to one million Hong Kong dollars each time.
She had never thought she was being scammed until she lost contact with him after the last money transfer, and her relatives and friends warned her that she might have been conned.
After receiving a report from the victim, the Wan Chai Regional Crime Unit launched an investigation into the case, which was listed as obtaining property by deception.
No one has been arrested so far.
According to sources, Lovestruck claims to have registered members worldwide, including China, Taiwan, Malaysia, the US, Canada, the UK and Australia.
The site, which allows users to set up a date by just clicking on the mobile app, has over 60,000 members in Hong Kong alone.