Online 'friend' duped woman of HK$1.2m

Internet users are being warned to be vigilant when making friends online after a woman was duped into remitting more than HK$1.2 million into a bank account in Britain.

The 43-year-old sent a total of £105,000 (HK$1.265 million) through two different Hong Kong banks on April 5 and April 22 after a man she met online told her he needed the money urgently.

"She was told he had been arrested by police in Britain and needed money," one police officer said.

Investigators learned that the woman, who lives on the mainland, met the man, who said he was English, on the internet in January.

He told her he needed a further £45,000 and yesterday she again travelled to Hong Kong to send him the money through a bank in Mong Kok.

This time, the victim, a two-way permit holder, was warned she might have been swindled. She then reported the incident to the Hong Kong police.

"It appears to be a typical online scam in which a female accedes to any request made by a sweet-talking man after he courts her through the internet," a senior police officer said.

He urged internet users to exercise caution when meeting strangers on the internet.

"Do not believe what people say on the internet as it may be completely false," he said.

Police are treating the case as deception and will seek help from overseas law enforcers to trace the man and the money.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Online 'friend' duped woman of HK$1.2m