A 20-second video in which a young Chinese policeman morphs into a beautiful woman to warn internet users to watch out for romance scams has become a hit online. Posted on an official police account on Weibo, China’s Twitter, it is part of a campaign to raise awareness of the issue. It was put together by police in the Shunde district of Foshan in southern Guangdong province. Since it was released on Friday, it has been widely circulated online and viewed millions of times. The video begins with the policeman, Xie Junhui, in a wig, minus his uniform. The officer is then seen as a woman, wearing women’s clothes and make-up, playfully tucking “her” hair behind her ear and touching her lips. But when she puts her fists out like cat paws, a policeman comes along and handcuffs her. The officer then says to the camera: “Take extra care when dating online and be aware of catfishing.” It has been widely shared on Chinese social media, with many people praising the officer’s makeover. “That police officer was really pushing the envelope,” one person wrote on Weibo. Another said: “I hope he can do a make-up tutorial next.” Online romance scams have become a big problem in mainland China and Hong Kong, and the video is part of efforts to warn internet users to be wary when they meet people on the web. Police have seen a growing number of scammers posing as baifumei – meaning fair, rich and beautiful in Chinese – using stolen images and personal information to create fake profiles online, Beijing Youth Daily reported on Friday. They then use the fake profiles to dupe people, mainly men, on WeChat and other social networks into sending them money. The report said it was easy to buy sets of more than 30,000 photos as well as short videos – all stolen from popular social media platforms – for as little as 1.1 yuan (16 US cents). In February, police in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province detained more than 40 suspects accused of posing as prostitutes online, using fake profiles to fraudulently obtain money. That came after 28 people were arrested in Shanghai in January, accused of being part of a gang that set up fake profiles for ‘virtual girlfriends’ on WeChat with the aim of persuading men to send them money. And in September, a 66-year-old businesswoman became Hong Kong’s biggest victim of such a scam after she was duped out of HK$180 million over four years by an “engineer from Britain”. Her case came to light after she spoke to her family about it, realised it was a swindle and contacted police.