Biggest Loser – Hong Kong Businessman Scammed HK$58 Million

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Mar 07 2016
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Do scammers have a better success rate targeting illiterate or old people? That’s the public perception due to wide coverage on such group of people being scammed, again and again. But if this 53-year-old man was really a legitimate businessman as what he claims to be, then this is one heck of a scam in the history of Hong Kong.


Seldom do you read about Hong Kongers fall victim to scams simply because they were supposed to be smart people, or at least they thought they were among the smartest. Guess this Hong Kong businessman might have forgotten about the Chinese saying – 山外有山, 人外有人 – which literally means “there’s always someone better” or “there’s always more to be seen/learned”.

Hong Kong Police - Showing Phone - Phone Scam

The man, who lives at Fairview Park Boulevard, Yuen Long, apparently received a call on October 20 from a person claiming to be an employee of a courier company – revealed Hong Kong police. The caller said a parcel he had sent contained fake documents. Subsequently, the call was transferred to a man who claimed to be an officer from the Shanghai public security bureau.


Malaysians and Singaporeans who have read too much of such scam stories in the local newspapers should know what happen next. That’s right, the victim was accused of money laundering and instructed to transfer money from his bank account in Hong Kong to his account on the mainland China – supposingly for investigation purposes and to prove his innocence.

Shanghai public security bureau officers

And the Hong Kong businessman obediently did as what he was told. The Hong Kong police also revealed that he was told not to inform anybody including relatives, friends, police or lawyers. At this point, someone with little grey cells would have been suspicious unless he / she were running illegal business.


Amazingly, the victim kept in contact with the unverified and self-claimed mainland China law enforcer – from October until February this year. For 5-month, he had transferred money to his mainland bank account several times as instructed. He only made a report to police when he found the balance in his bank account on the mainland was zero.

Phone Scam

In total, the businessman lost RMB49 million (HK$58 million; US$7,5 million; £5.3 million; RM30.7 million). This latest scam has catapulted the businessman as the biggest loser in the history of transnational phone scam in Hong Kong. The previous record involved veteran soprano Li Yuanrong, 73, and her husband Wang Guotong, 76 – both were cheated more than HK$22.8 million last year.


The latest scam case has been transferred to the Kowloon East regional crime unit but a police source said the chance of recovering the money was very slim. That’s because money deposited into a mainland bank account would be withdrawn within hours before transferred to underground money exchangers in Taiwan, and disappeared thereafter.

Hong Kong Police Passing By Banner - Phone Scam Deception

According to Hong Kong police, the number of phone scam cases surged by nearly 30% to around 2,880 cases last year, with half of them scammed by fraudsters posing as mainland officials – netting a staggering HK$300 million away. Regardless whether the man had carried illegal business hence easily duped by the voice of “mainland officers”, there’s one disturbing question.


Unlike other international phone scam, this case involved money transfer between two accounts belonging to the same businessman. His HK$58 million was safe in his Hong Kong bank account but once it got transferred into his mainland China account, it was no longer safe. Something smells fishy, was it not?

Stacking Chinese Yuam Renminbi Notes

How on earth did the scammers gain access to his mainland bank account, which was supposed to be under the businessman’s name? Clearly, the businessman has a good case against the mainland bank since his money vanished without proper authorization. However, there was also a report that he had given his bank account password to the “mainland authorities”.


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