Authorities in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Nigeria have arrested 13 people suspected of scamming singles online.
Earlier this year, Hong Kong authorities found that since 2014, 73 women in the region had supposedly been persuaded to hand over a whopping sum of HK$58m ($7.4m) to a group of con artists.
And as reported by the South China Morning Post, a further HK$2m ($0.25m) was allegedly taken from a further 13 women in Malaysia and sent to the same gang.
The con artists are said to have targeted women in Hong Kong, Europe, America and Australia, with the majority of the money being laundered in Malaysia and Nigeria – Hong Kong authorities discovering 10 different bank accounts.
This finding led Hong Kong police to call on the help of officials in Malaysia and Nigeria.
Superintendent Lam Cheuk-ho of the Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau said: “Half of the core members were responsible for using computers to create fake identities, and searching for and contacting victims, while the other half handled crime proceeds and remitted the money out of Hong Kong and other countries.
“Victims were told their so-called lovers would fly to Hong Kong to marry them and send wedding gifts and assets.
“But they were then told the gifts and assets had been confiscated by local authorities and victims were asked for help to pay handling and administrative fees or a surety.”
On 28th November this year, authorities arrested a Nigerian woman who had allegedly been collecting the money from these online scams.
And last week, police found 13 people suspected of being involved in the operation, which was allegedly led by a 36-year-old Nigerian man and a 46-year-old Malaysian woman, who are said to have been lovers.
The suspects are expected to go to court in Malaysia, where they could face charges of deception – which carries a maximum sentence of seven years in prison.
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