A Hong Kong publication has exposed an apparent scam that uses companionship apps to lure men into meeting a woman for an expensive but allegedly substandard dinner at a café in Kowloon.

It was understood that the young woman participating in the scam could get HK$100 an hour plus a 4% commission for each dinner she procured.

According to an investigative report published by Apple Daily on Saturday, one of the victims named Ben said he met a young woman through an app called “Hey! Mandi,” and she invited him as a “dinner partner,” claiming she had just broken up with her boyfriend.

Ben said the young woman chose which restaurant to go to. When the two strangers met, Ben said he hardly recognized the woman because she looked different from the profile picture shown on the mobile app.

The woman took Ben to a café on Sai Yueng Choi Street in Kowloon’s Mong Kok area and they had a dinner, which cost HK$800 (US$102). But the “date” ended before the meal was finished because the woman announced that she had to go back home to deal with a family issue.

However, Ben later found out that she did not go home but took different men to the café on the same night.

He suspected that the woman was a scammer who had partnered with the café to con customers to going there for dinner.

Ben said the dishes on the menu were overpriced and the food did not taste good at all.

Another man named Ken met the woman on another app called “SKOUT.” He said that as a gentleman, he wouldn’t mind paying for dinner for a lady, but what made him angry and disappointed was the way the restaurant and the woman cheated him.

Some apparent victims posted their experiences on an online discussion forum alerting other people to beware.

An Apple Daily reporter disguised himself as a prospective “dinner partner” and met the young woman, this time calling herself, “Karen,” in Mong Kok.

When the reporter suggested going to Sai Kung for a seafood dinner, “Karen” insisted on going to the same café on Sai Yeung Choi Street.

In the café, the reporter had the same experience as Ben and Ken had.

The newspaper reported that a total of 11 men had been taken by the same young woman to the same café on the same night. Each dinner date lasted only 15 to 20 minutes.

When the reporter interviewed the “male dinner partners,” they related more or less the same experiences, adding that they had paid around HK$400 to HK$1,000 for their dinner.

The report did not say if any of the victims had reported their cases to the police.