Hong Kong, April 21 2021: In a city that boasts so many palatial residences, some of which overlook densely packed districts where poor families survive in apartments the size of car ports, Hong Kong is one of the most unequal places in the world.
The city is home to the highest concentrations of billionaires and many of the residents of the luxurious homes are wealthy older citizens who are a ripe target for phone scammers who have often conned these rich residents through blackmail and extortion. With such a high concentration of wealthy elderly residents, the city makes a ripe target for phone scammers, many of whom operate across the border in mainland China.
In a recent incident, a 90 year old Hong Kong woman had a total of $32million “stolen” from her after con artists posing as Chinese authorities targeted her and led her to believe that her ID was being used in a serious crime in mainland China and that she needed to keep transferring money to an account they claimed was meant for safekeeping and scrutiny of her assets.
This is one of the city’s biggest phone scam on record and in transactions over a period of five months, the woman gave a total of 32 million dollars through a total of 11 bank transfers. This isn’t the first incident in which an elderly person from Hong Kong has been plagued by phone scammers who seek out vulnerable and wealthy victims willing to transfer money or make bogus investments.
The woman in question in this case lived in one of the most upscale neighbor-hoods of Hong Kong, called The Peak. According to the South China Morning Post, she was contacted by the scammers last summer and several days later a person arrived at her door step with a dedicated mobile phone and SIM card to make the transfers and communicate with “the security agents”
According to Police reports, the scam was detected when the elderly lady’s domestic helper thought something suspicious was happening and contacted her employer’s daughter who later alerted police officers.
A 19 year old has since been arrested for fraud and is free on bail. The police say their suspect is the fraudster who turned up at the woman’s house with the mobile phone and SIM card.
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