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Monday, Jun 05, 2023

Gambling scam sees honey trap sprung for $200,000

Gambling scam sees honey trap sprung for $200,000

A man lost HK$200,000 in an online romance scam after a "pretty girl" he met on WhatsApp lured him into online gambling, Sing Tao Probe reported.
The man, Lam, said he fell for the scam as the online gambling website gained his trust by claiming it would donate its proceeds to charities.

Lam said the woman, "Coco Wang," contacted him on WhatsApp, claiming to be a mainland university student in Shenzhen who had lived in Hong Kong for three years.

Shortly after the two started chatting, the woman reeled him in further with photos that caught his eye and endearments such as addressing him by his nickname "Little Fool."

"After we chatted for a while, she asked if I was interested in online gambling, which she said would give me some earnings. I then thought I could have a try," Lam said.

"The website she recommended seemed to belong to a Macau gambling company, which said it would donate its income to charities, so I thought the website must be safe," he added.

Lam was told users of the website, which is fake, could earn bonuses by depositing a certain sum, such as a few thousand dollars for a deposit of HK$10,000.

In the beginning, Lam made money from punts and deposits, and was even able to transfer all the money to his own bank account.

The woman then suggested they set up a joint account, saying they could earn HK$60,000 if they managed to deposit HK$300,000 within five days. Lam agreed, but he was later told they had to deposit HK$300,000 each, meaning HK$600,000 in total to receive the HK$60,000 bonus.

After Lam had put HK$200,000 into his account, he was told by customer services he had entered his personal information incorrectly while making a withdrawal, causing his account to be frozen.

The website then informed Lam he had to deposit a sum equal to half of his account balance within three days to unfreeze it. Lam had over HK$534,000, meaning he had to pay another HK$260,000.

"I didn't know what to do and told Coco about it. She acted surprised and said she could help me raise HK$200,000, asking me to pay HK$60,000 by myself," he said.

Lam then panicked and tried to call Coco, whom he had never met or talked to on the phone. But she did not pick up his calls and only told him through text messages to make the deposit.

Even though Lam had by then realized he had fallen victim to a scam and lost around HK$200,000, he dared not call the police as online gambling is against the law and he did not want his wife to find out about the scam.
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