‘US military netizen’ cheats Taiwan woman out of HK$709,000: police

2020-09-16 03:20     Comment:0

A Taiwanese woman fell victim to an online dating scam and was defrauded out of HK$709,000 by a “US military netizen” who came up nine times with different excuses as to why he needed the money, Judiciary Police (PJ) spokesman Cheong Kam Fai said at a regular press conference on Monday.

According to Cheong, the 33-year-old non-resident worker who works as a mentor for a local social service organisation reported to the police recently that she met a “foreign man” on an online social media app in May. The man claimed that he worked for the US military and on June 16 he requested the victim keep US$500,000 (3.99 million patacas) for him, claiming that the money would be delivered to Macau from overseas. 

Cheong said the victim opened a QQ account according to the “foreign man’s” instructions, and subsequently she received an email from a “shipping company” asking her to pay a fee of US$5,000 for sending the money to Macau. The victim deposited the money into a designated bank account in Hong Kong provided by the “foreign man”.  

According to Cheong, the “shipping company” sent emails to the victim three times, on June 25, June 30 and July 1, asking her to pay US$10,600 for a customs clearance fee in Indonesia, a customs custody fee of US$10,000 and a handling fee of US$16,200 to exchange US dollars into NT$ (new Taiwan dollars). The victim remitted the three amounts of money totalling US$36,800 into the bank account in Hong Kong.

Cheong said the “foreign man” sent a message via WeChat to the victim on July 6 and claimed that he would retire from the military in July. However, he claimed that in order to retire he needed to pay a fee to the authorities. The victim subsequently transferred HK$386,550 in five remittances to the bank account in Hong Kong.

Eventually, the victim grew suspicious of being defrauded and reported the case to the police. Cheong said the victim sent the money in nine remittances, totalling HK$709,000. 

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