Two foreigners were arrested on Monday in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, after a 32-year-old Hong Kong woman reported that she had lost HK$330,000 (about US$42,000) to an “American pilot” she had met online.
The woman said she came in contact with the man, who claimed to be a pilot in the United States, on Facebook last month, but did not “fall in love” with him because her poor English prevented her from developing the relationship further, Sing Pao reported.
On October 12, the man claimed that he would send some gifts to the woman, including Chanel and Gucci handbags and cosmetics. She was very happy to hear this.
Then she received a WhatsApp message from a man posing as a customs officer from Malaysia and stating that the parcel was being detained. The woman needed to pay a fee to get the parcel.
She paid a total of HK$330,000 in five batches to five local banks, but never received any parcel.
The woman finally reported the incident to the police on Saturday after being altered by friends that she might have been defrauded.
As the woman transferred the last two sums of money on Friday, the police Anti-Deception Coordination Center advised the bank to freeze the account.
At 4:15pm on Monday, a 46-year-old Japanese man and a 39-year-old Malaysian man went to a Standard Chartered Bank branch in Tsim Sha Tsui to withdraw the money from the frozen bank account.
Staff called the police, who arrested and detained the pair on suspicion of obtaining property by deception.
It was understood that the two foreigners arrived in Hong Kong on Monday with tourist visas.
Police believe the Japanese man worked for a crime syndicate and the Malaysian was his partner. The investigation is ongoing.