Gulf News

Hong Kong woman, 90, loses $32 million in phone scam

Con men make her transfer money from bank for ‘safekeepin­g’


A90-year-old Hong Kong woman has been conned out of $32 million by fraudsters posing as Chinese officials, police said, in the city’s biggest recorded phone scam. Police on Tuesday said scammers targeted an elderly woman living in a mansion on The Peak, Hong Kong’s ritziest neighbourh­ood.

Last summer criminals contacted the unnamed woman pretending to be Chinese public security officials. They claimed her identity had been used in a serious criminal case in mainland China.

She was told she needed to transfer money from her bank account into ones held by the investigat­ion team for safekeepin­g and scrutiny, the South China Morning Post reported. Police said several days later a person arrived at her house with a dedicated mobile phone and SIM card to communicat­e with the fake security agents who persuaded her to make a total of 11 bank transfers. Over five months the elderly lady gave a total of HK$250 million to the scammers. Police said the scam was only spotted because the elderly lady’s domestic helper thought something suspicious was happening and contacted her employer’s daughter who then alerted officers. After an investigat­ion a 19-year-old was arrested for fraud and has been released on bail, police said.

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