Taiwanese businessman lured to Hong Kong and cheated out of US$100,000 in fake gold scam

Police are searching for four men in connection with the incident, which took place in a hotel room in Tsim Sha Tsui this week

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 July, 2017, 2:56pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 July, 2017, 10:51pm

Four con artists, believed to be African men, are being sought by Hong Kong police after a Taiwanese businessman was duped out of US$100,000 (HK$780,000) with fake gold granules in his hotel room.

It is the third similar case in Tsim Sha Tsui district over the past three months. Three Hongkongers were swindled out of HK$1.63 million in total in another two cases in May and June.

Detectives from the Yau Tsim district crime squad are investigating whether the three cases were carried out by the same gang.

It is understood swindlers, posing as gold traders, found their victims online by offering gold bars or granules for a bargain price.

The victims are usually lured to check in a hotel room where scams take place, according to police.

“During the transaction, they hand over bundles of banknotes and receive ‘gold’ bars or granules. A bag carrying the money is locked in a safe inside their hotel room as the ‘gold’ is being taken to test,” a police source said.

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“When proved it is fake gold, the victim opens the safe and finds the money is gone.”

The latest case happened a week after officers arrested an asylum seeker from Guinea and seized bags of fake gold-painted metals on Wednesday last week. The 29-year-old man was released on bail pending further investigations.

According to police, the Taiwanese man, 42, who runs a trading company in Taipei, was lured to Hong Kong and checked in at the Regal Kowloon Hotel on Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui on Wednesday.

The transaction took place in his hotel room in the afternoon that day when he and a member of his staff, 43, met four smartly dressed men and handed over US$100,000 to buy the gold.

He realised he was cheated when he was told it was fake gold and the money was missing. He could not contact the four men and then called police shortly after 5pm.

The victim told police that the four men, thought to be aged between 30 and 35, were believed to be from Africa, according to police.

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It is understood officers are still poring over security camera footage for evidence.

The previous case happened in the same hotel last month when a Hongkonger was cheated out of HK$430,000.

In late May, two Hong Kong business partners were swindled out of HK$1.2 million in their room in Marco Polo Hong Kong Hotel in Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui.

Police are treating the three cases as “deception”. The Yau Tsim district crime squad is handling.

Latest police figures show there were 3,561 reports of deception across the city in the first six months of this year, a 5.7 per cent drop compared with 3,368 in the same period last year.