A 24-year-old unemployed man has been accused of conning ten victims, mostly middle-aged women, out of HK$25 million (US$3.18 million).

The man, surnamed Lam, was charged with two counts of obtaining property by deception, one of fraud and another one of theft at the Kwun Tong Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, Apple Daily reported.

Seven women and three male victims aged between 22 and 57 were allegedly tricked by Lam into lending him money for investments.

The court heard that Lam, who started his scam when he was 19, is said to have befriended his victims – mostly women in their 40s and 50s – on social networking apps such as WeChat and SayHi. It is also said that he provided some of them with ‘hospitality’ services.

It is alleged that Lam met one of the victims, surnamed Law, online and that after some time, the two started living together in a hotel room, Sing Pao reported.

Between December last year and April this year, Lam obtained HK$700,000 from Law after telling her he was involved in a civil case on the mainland.

At the same time, Lam cheated Law’s daughter, telling her that he was in debt due to a money-laundering case. Law’s daughter transferred him HK$260,000.

Sources said that all ten victims were Hong Kong residents and that the male victims were friends or relatives of the female victims.

Lam was denied bail and remanded in custody pending further collection of bank records.