A 56-year-old Hong Kong woman who lives in a public housing estate in Shatin in the New Territories lost a total of HK$26.4 million (US$3.36 million) to an online love scammer over 18 months.
This is the largest amount lost to a love scam in Hong Kong recorded by police so far, Apple Daily reported.
The victim, who was supervisor of the account department of a trading company, said she met a man posing as a financial analyst in Malaysia on Facebook and they “fell in love” in June 2016.
The man told the victim that he had HK$80 million worth of legacy but the assets were frozen by the authorities in Malaysia because he failed to pay a handling fee.
At first, he only asked for US$1,000, but later on, he used various excuses to request more money.
The victim soon spent all of her HK$1 million savings and started borrowing money from banks, friends and relatives.
By January this year, she had sent HK$26.4 million to the con artist in 387 transactions.
As she had no more money to help her lover, she realized that she was being cheated when she was unable to contact him any more.
The victim reported the case to police in February.
Police immediately took action and halted some payments, which helped the victim get back HK$2 million.
In another case disclosed earlier, a Hong Kong woman lost HK$14 million in 200 transactions during an eight-year online relationship with a man who claimed to be a British film director and whom she never met in person.