Middle-aged man cheated of HK$4.9 million in bogus escort scheme

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4th March 2024 – (Hong Kong) A 49-year-old local man from Hong Kong was swindled out of approximately HK$4.9 million by an individual posing as a female intermediary in what appeared to be an escort service scam. The victim, whose identity has not been disclosed, was first approached on a social networking site and later communicated with the suspect via Telegram, an encrypted messaging service.

Initially, in January, the man was persuaded to make four transactions totalling around HK$4,000 to a local bank account provided by the fraudster. Despite not receiving any of the promised services, he was subsequently convinced to transfer funds on 15 more occasions between January and February, leading to the substantial loss.

The deception came to light when the Hong Kong police’s Anti-Deception Coordination Centre (ADCC) detected suspicious activity in the victim’s bank account, triggering an investigation that revealed the transactions were part of a property obtained by deception case. The Kowloon City Police District’s criminal investigation team is currently handling the case, with no arrests made to date.

The perpetrator allegedly enticed the victim with photographs of women, claiming that upon paying a membership fee, he would be introduced to them for potential sexual services. The scheme evolved to include requests for “security deposits” to meet the women, which the victim paid, resulting in the hefty financial loss.

This incident has shed light on the importance of the ” Upstream Scam Intervention scheme ” initiated in May of the previous year, in collaboration with 12 retail banks. The scheme proactively warns customers who have made transactions to suspicious accounts, thereby aiding in the detection of fraudulent activities.

The Hong Kong Police Force has reiterated the serious nature of obtaining property by deception under Section 12 of the Theft Ordinance, Cap 210 of the Laws of Hong Kong, which carries a maximum penalty of ten years’ imprisonment. Citizens are urged not to test the law with their actions and to remain vigilant against such scams. The ADCC’s hotline 18222, is available for immediate assistance should members of the public suspect they have fallen prey to similar fraudulent schemes.