Hong Kong student cheated of S$783,000 in one of largest amounts in phone scam

A man who claimed to be an officer instructed the 24-year-old student to transfer HK$4.4 million in 11 instalments to a specified bank account.
A man who claimed to be an officer instructed the 24-year-old student to transfer HK$4.4 million in 11 instalments to a specified bank account.PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

A 24-year-old Hong Kong student was reportedly cheated of HK$4.4 million (S$783,000), reportedly one of the largest amounts swindled in a phone scam in Hong Kong.

The girl made a police report on Sunday, saying she had received a phone call from a man, according to a report by Hong Kong's TVB news channel on Monday (June 26).

The man claimed she was involved in a criminal case, and transferred her to another man who claimed he was an officer with local authorities.

He instructed her to transfer HK$4.4 million in 11 instalments to a specified bank account.

In a report, the South China Morning Post said the victim was a University of Science and Technology student from China.

SCMP identified the woman as Ms Yang, saying she went to Tseung Kwan O police station and filed a report on Sunday.

According to SCMP, 156 victims in Hong Kong were cheated of more than HK$80 million in total in the first four months of this year.

More than half of the victims were Hong Kong permanent residents, while 31 per cent were students from the mainland and another 10 per cent new residents from China.

More than half the victims were younger than 30, SCMP said.

This fresh case comes on the heels of Hong Kong Police's Cyber Security Campaign 2017, which was launched last week.

On its website, the police warn the public of a telephone scam that has been catching victims unaware recently.

Swindlers make phone calls to victims pretending to be Hong Kong Police, Mainland Chinese police or courier company staff.

A person would tell the victims that their identities were used for crime in China, and ask them to provide sensitive information such as personal bank account numbers and passwords to clear the victims' names.

They will then direct the victims to a fake website that is done up like the official police website.

Singapore has its own version of such crimes, with scammers linking victims to a fake Singapore Police Force website.