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Scams and swindles

Elderly Hong Kong woman loses HK$2 million in Skype scam after being given suitcase full of waste paper

Con artist asks victim to safeguard suitcase then convinces her to make a series of payments to a non-local bank account after the two met online, police say

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 June, 2018, 3:22pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 June, 2018, 4:47pm

An elderly Hong Kong woman has been duped out of HK$2 million, which she was asked to transfer to a non-local bank account while safeguarding a suitcase full of “valuables”.

The items turned out to be waste paper, and police said similar scams often involve victims being convinced to make payments while holding valuable items as collateral – only to find that the goods are worthless.

It is unclear what motivated the 77-year-old woman to transfer the money. She met the con artist through Skype in 2014, and was asked to help look after a suitcase that carried valuables, according to police.

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The suitcase was sent to her home on Hung Hom Estate on Man Yuen Street, in 2015.

“The suspect then used different excuses to convince the victim to transfer money into a designated bank account,” a police spokesman said.

The victim transferred HK$2 million (US$255,000) into the bank account in multiple transactions over the last three years.

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The money was not transferred to a local bank account, a police source said, and the victim never met the con artist in person.

The woman realised she had been scammed recently, when she opened the suitcase and found it was filled with waste paper.

She told her daughter about the suitcase on Monday. The daughter called police that night.

So far, no one has been arrested.