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Fraudsters swindle more than HK$132 million from victims as online investment scams in Hong Kong jump

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Fraudsters swindle more than HK$132 million from victims as online investment scams in Hong Kong jump

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Fraudsters swindled more than HK$132 million (US$16.82 million) from victims of online investment scams in 243 cases reported in Hong Kong in the first two months of the year, police revealed on Thursday.

The amount of money the victims lost rose 268 per cent from HK$35.9 million in the same period last year, according to Senior Inspector Lam Pui-hang of the force’s Anti-Deception Coordination Centre. He said 110 cases of online investment fraud were reported between January and February of 2021.

Reports of such fraud rose sharply from 208 in 2017 to 980 in 2021, while the losses involved also increased 277 per cent to HK$472 million from HK$125 million.

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Victims were lured by the promise of high returns. Photo: Shutterstock

According to the force, scammers posing as investment experts usually prey on targets through social media and sometimes deploy good-looking and sweet-talking con artists to lure victims.

“They show off their well-off lifestyle and post photographs of luxury cars and watches on social media to draw their target’s attention,” Superintendent Yip Wing-lam of the commercial crime bureau said.

He said swindlers then persuaded people to invest, claiming they “could yield high returns and face low risk”.

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