85-year-old man loses $100m in gold trading scam

HONG KONG • An 85-year-old man has become Hong Kong's biggest victim of a bullion trading scam after being conned out of HK$580 million (S$100 million) over two years, according to the South China Morning Post.

The man was one of seven investors who lost a total of nearly HK$620 million in the scam, which involved trading gold on the London commodities market, the newspaper reported yesterday, citing unidentified people.

Hong Kong police confirmed the arrest of 14 people related to the deception in an e-mail statement to Bloomberg News, while they declined to comment on the specifics about the elderly victim.

According to the Hong Kong police website, fraudsters usually lure victims into fake precious metal transactions through cold calls. They would then ask victims to deposit money into an investment account and sign documents authorising a third party to trade on their behalf. Victims eventually find themselves losing all their capital as a result of hefty commission fees and investment losses.

That is what happened to the 85-year-old man. He received his first cold call in mid-2016 and made many transactions over two years, the newspaper said.

Other victims in the scam were ethnic Chinese from Taiwan, the United States, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, according to the report.

BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 26, 2019, with the headline '85-year-old man loses $100m in gold trading scam'. Print Edition | Subscribe