Four held in Hong Kong over scams that duped would-be investors out of HK$11 million
Directors and brokers arrested after complaints from people who had signed up for bullion trading and financing projects – only to be told all their money was lost
Two directors and two brokers at a Hong Kong investment company were arrested in connection with scams that duped eight people out of HK$11 million (US$1.4 million) over the past few months.
The four men, aged between 26 and 49, were picked up when crime-squad officers raided the company’s office on Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, on Thursday afternoon.
The eight victims included investors from mainland China and Australia, according to Chief Inspector Jonas Kwong of Yau Tsim police district
“Investigations showed they were lured into investing in bullion trading or financing projects with the promise of a 20-25 per cent return,” he said.
Kwong said one person, a mainlander, lost about HK$4 million.
Victims were sent “add new friend” requests through phone instant messaging services and social media platforms, according to police.
They were coaxed into paying to trade gold in London and invest in financing projects and were told they could generate the high returns quickly, Kwong said.
“The victims were then persuaded to sign agreements authorising brokers to trade on their behalf,” he said. “They were later notified that their investments had failed and they had lost all their money.”
Officers began investigating the scam after receiving complaints from the victims in recent months.
Officers also confiscated documents and computers during the raid.
The four men were arrested for conspiracy to defraud, according to police. The offence carries a maximum penalty of 14 years’ imprisonment.
Kwong said investigations were continuing and further arrests were possible.
The four suspects were being held for questioning on Thursday night and none had been charged.
Police urged investors to check all the terms and details of any agreement before signing and seek professional advice if necessary.