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A 65-year-old Hong Kong woman made a report to police after she handed over HK$1.15 million (US$146,516) to an “online boyfriend” she had never met, and who later disappeared.

After the victim surnamed Chan, said to be a cashier, began talking to an “American businessman named Donald” on Facebook in January last year, their relationship quickly turned into an online romance, Apple Daily reported.

The man told Chan that he had sent her expensive gifts to Hong Kong but that the packages were confiscated in Malaysia. He asked Chan to help pay the tax and fine to recover the gift.

Chan transferred money on 17 occasions to seven different bank accounts from March to December. In total, she sent the man HK$1.15 million.

Chan realized she had been cheated early this year when the man cut off all contact, after which she reported the case to the police.

Police investigated and in January arrested a 53-year-old woman, said to be a security guard in Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong for allegedly obtaining property by deception.

It is understood that the arrested woman was one of the bank account holders who received money transferred by the victim. Police believe that she is not the mastermind and they are investigating the case in order to track down other culprits.

There were 2,064 online scams recorded in 2018, a leap of 90% compared to the year before. The victims reportedly lost HK$500 million (US$63.7 million) in total.

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