Two Chinese men in Hong Kong fell victim to a gold scam perpetrated by three men believed to be of African origin. The pair were cheated out of US$56,000 in a phony transaction that promised 2kg of gold at a 30% discount to the spot market price.

Around noon on Wednesday, a 27-year-old Hong Kong man, surnamed Tong, and a 37-year-old mainland man went to Regal Kowloon Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui to meet the purported gold sellers, Sing Tao Daily reported. The sellers had already established a relationship with the duo after allowing them a small profit in a similar discounted transaction.

In the latest deal, the buyers and sellers agreed to store the cash and gold bars together in a hotel room safe, while Tong accompanied the sellers to a gold shop on Peel Street in Central district to test the authenticity of one gold bar.

When informed that the gold bar was fake, Tong found that the sellers, who had agreed to wait outside the shop, had fled. Tong then called his friend to open the safe, which was found to contain only blank papers in place of their cash.

Police are looking for three non-Chinese men, about 1.7-meters tall, aged between 30 and 35, Oriental Daily reported. Officers categorized the case as obtaining property by deception.

The spot market gold price was US$40,364 per kg on Thursday, up US$245 from Wednesday, according to jmbullion.com.