An elderly Hong Kong woman has become the biggest victim of an online scam in the city’s history, losing HK$180 million (US$22.9 million) to a man she’d never met.
The 66-year-old called police in August, seeking help to recover money she sent to her “online boyfriend” over a period of four years.
The businesswoman who lives in the Mid-Levels on Hong Kong Island and owns a property investment company started talking to the man through online dating site Lovestruck in 2014, one year after her husband died, Apple Daily reported.
The man claimed to be an engineer in England told her he worked for various projects in the United States and Europe. Although they had never met in person, she offered assistance when the man asked for financial help.
The woman transferred money to the man more than 200 times with the total amount reaching about HK$180 million. She realized she had been cheated in July when the man cut off all contact. She reported the case to police in early August.
Police described the case as possibly Hong Kong’s biggest online love scam and classed it as obtaining property by deception. Officers from Wan Chai are following up, but no arrests have been made.