'I was not trying to lose weight, I was just applying for a job,' said a victim of the alleged Royal Bodyperfect slimming scam.
The 26-year-old woman, who did not give her name out of privacy concerns, said she was forced to pay HK$24,800 as a deposit for a slimming package when she applied for a job at Royal Bodyperfect in 2009.
She said she received a cold call from the slimming company and was asked if she wanted a job as the centre's spokeswoman.
'I don't know how they could get my phone number, but I was desperate for a job and therefore I decided to try.' She said she had been unemployed for several months at the time.
The woman said that when she arrived at an office of Royal Bodyperfect in Tsim Sha Tsui, she was locked in a room and a staff member lured her into signing a contract for a slimming package.
The staff member told her that she could get back HK$4,000 of her deposit if she could reduce her weight by 4.5kg in two months, and the rest would be returned if she could maintain the weight loss in the following year.
Meanwhile, the woman was told she could be rewarded with a sum of money after finishing the whole package. But she said the staff member did not tell how much the reward would be.
'Once I signed and gave her a credit card to pay for the deposit, the staff member took my contract and the payment receipt away, and then refused to give them back to me.'
She said she later tried to seek help from the Consumer Council and the police, but was told that they could not help because she had signed a contract.
The woman is not the only alleged victim. She and another 30 people have set up a victims' concern group.
She said she understood that one woman had paid a HK$150,000 deposit and still could not get her money back. She said another was allegedly forced to stay in an air-conditioned room naked for five hours for a body check, to get her to sign a contract.