Scammers preying on the amorous elderly

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 November, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 November, 2009, 12:00am

A survey by a social-welfare service that has dealt with 10 cases of elderly people being caught in honey traps this year has found that a desire for sexual intimacy is the main reason people are conned, followed by loneliness.

The Christian Family Service Centre said it was common for old people without partners to be approached or deceived by members of the opposite sex, who swindled them out of cash.

It surveyed 207 people aged over 60 on their awareness of sex traps in September and found that 70 per cent believed that a desire for sexual intimacy made the elderly vulnerable.

Szeto Wai-fat, of the Kowloon East Regional Crime Prevention Unit, told a seminar in Kwun Tong yesterday that although the number of such crimes had not been on the rise, the elderly needed to be aware of the problem and what they should do when they faced it.

'It's a common fallacy that old people have no sexual desire and should be happy with what they have. In fact, sexual desire is not unique to young people,' he said.

He advised the elderly to avoid having conversations with strangers, and report to the police when they felt they had fallen prey to such schemes.

Li Shing, 85, shared his personal experience with more than 200 elderly people at the seminar. He said he had been approached by a woman aged about 30 when he was sitting on a park bench. She asked him if he was lonely and if he needed someone to spend time with.

'There was an element of sexual innuendo in what she said. I smelled a honey trap and refused to go on talking with her,' he said. 'I was lucky enough not to be scammed. Several friends of mine have fallen prey to these women.'

Cases were presented to and analysed by the audience. One, which happened in March, involved a middle-aged man who lost about HK$50,000 after being conned by a woman from Taiwan who advertised that she was looking for a husband.