A group of about 100 Hong Kong investors are seeking assistance from the Democratic Party after they allegedly lost a total of HK$30 million (US$3.82 million) in an arcade claw machine investment scheme which came recommended by an internet celebrity.

The victims claimed they had invested amounts ranging from HK$85,000 to HK$1.6 million (US$10,800 to $204,000) after being told that they could earn a monthly return of HK$10,000 from each claw machine. However, it turned out that each machine only made them about HK$10 per month, Radio Television Hong Kong reported.

A claw machine is usually a glass box containing merchandise such as plush toys that a player tries to pick up using a mechanical claw in order to drop the prize through a hole and collect it.

The victims, aged between 25 to 60, said the investment plan was recommended by an internet celebrity Yuen Ping-fai, known as “For Liu Sum” on social media.

The victims were told that players can play the claw machine through a mobile phone application that live-streams the action. Winners could then supposedly have their toys delivered to their homes.

The contracts the victims signed stated that they could have 50% of the money received from the machine, either paid by Bitcoin or in cash.

However, the victims found they received about HK$10 each month and that was paid in a special cryptocurrency called XPT.

Ramon Yuen from the Democratic Party said the victims did not even know where the claw machines were located, nor did they know how to calculate the revenue from the machines.

Police have reportedly been informed of 42 cases of such investment scams since November last year, news website HK01.com reported.