HK logs 90pc more investment scams in first 10 months of 2022

The Hong Kong Police Force said they have logged a 90 percent rise in investment scams during the first 10 months of 2022, when compared with the same period in 2021, with the cases leading to combined losses of up to HK$770 million.

The sum the victims have lost in the scams is also 1.1 times more than last year, with 70 percent of them related to virtual currency investment scams, the force noted.

Speaking in a police press conference Tuesday morning, one of the victims - identified as Lee, told reporters that he was swindled out of HK$180,000 in a virtual currency investment scam he was caught in since September last year.

He said he was first approached by a fraudster through social media platform who impersonated himself as a staff of an overseas investment agency for a fictitious virtual currency investment scheme to invest in a virtual currency “Sushi”.

Lee said the “staff”, on multiple occasions, instructed him to make transfers from his personal bank account to the platform’s account in order for the “staff” to help process the transactions of the virtual currency.

He said he only realized the scheme was a scam when he noticed the prices of “Sushi” has dived and wanted to cut losses by selling the virtual currency at a loss, with his entire investment account set up with the fraudster removed from the fake investment platform.

The police force reminded members of the public that genuine staff of investment agencies would not help investors process their transactions, and people should contact corresponding agencies and banks to verify the identity of the callers when they claim themselves as staff members.

Meanwhile, a police spokesman said they have arrested 589 suspects over 881 suspected scams in 20 operations last year, with the victims of these cases having lost a total of around HK$400 million.