A charming conman's vulnerability to his mainland lover's demands for cash helped drive him to swindle friends out of almost $2 million, a court heard yesterday. Lam Chor-keung, 57, used elaborate lies to fleece 11 friends, claiming at one point to be a former top housing official with access to a multimillion-dollar inheritance. He was jailed yesterday for three years and four months. His lawyer, Shaun Kelly, told the District Court that Lam's mainland girlfriend had demanded money from him and threatened to take away their son. He said Lam was emotionally vulnerable and had begun a relationship with the woman in 1984 after his marriage failed. The woman had sneaked into Hong Kong with the couple's son, then six, in 1990. 'A significant factor was that the woman who came from China made increasing financial demands on him,' Mr Kelly said. 'These demands were far in excess of what would have been required for day-to-day living expenses.' Lam had also spent $200,000 on his lover's father who had come to visit Hong Kong and stayed for almost a year. The woman had threatened to take the boy back to the mainland, Mr Kelly said. Lam had 'at great expense' employed tutors for the boy, who could not go to school because he was an illegal immigrant. He ended up swindling one of the teachers out of $40,000 by pretending he owned a building company which could decorate her flat. He told two other victims he needed cash for bribes to gain access to vast assets frozen by the Government. Lam had admitted 14 deception offences committed between 1992 and last year. One of his victims hurled abuse at him yesterday as he walked to the cells. Judge Michael McMahon said Lam appeared to be persuasive. A report prepared for the court said: 'He possesses an ability to charm.' Lam no longer had any contact with the woman and their child, who had been sent back to the mainland, Mr Kelly said. Judge McMahon said the conman had preyed on the vulnerability and, in some cases, the greed of his victims.