Romance scams triple in Hong Kong as African masterminds recruit in Asia

Most of the 159 Hongkongers who lost nearly HK$100 million (US$12.7 million) in online romance scams in the first four months of this year fell victim to scammers from Africa operating from Asian countries, it has emerged, amid a 200 per cent surge in such cases this year.

Based on an analysis of the money transfers and the scammers’ IP addresses, police insiders said at least two foreign-based syndicates were preying on women in Hong Kong through online dating platforms and social media sites such as Facebook.

“We believe the core figures of the gangs are from Africa, who recruited local residents in Asian countries to open bank accounts to collect payments and find targets online,” a police source said.

But he said some scammers worked individually and moved from one country to…

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