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Multi-millionaire, 90, conned out of £23m by phone scammers in Hong Kong

A 90-year-old multi-millionaire has been conned out of £23m after falling prey to a phone scammer.

The conman allegedly told the woman, from Hong Kong, that her identity had been used in a serious criminal case in mainland China and that she should transfer her money to a new bank account so officials could investigate.

According to the South China Morning Post, she is the biggest known victim of a phone scam in Hong Kong history.

Police arrested a 19-year-old university student late last month in connection with the crime and officers froze bank accounts containing HK$9 million (£830,000), but the rest remains missing.

According to the Central District Crime Squad, the woman received a call from a man claiming to be a mainland law enforcement official in July last year.

He told her once she had transferred her money and the investigation had been completed, she would get it all back.

So rife are phone and internet scams in Hong Kong that in 2017 a dedicated unit, the Anti-Deception Co-ordination Centre, was established in order to to pool police resources for tackling the crimes.

The South China Morning Post said reports of phone scams alone had risen by 18% to 200 in the quarter of 2021 with fraudsters pocketing more than HK$350 million (£32m) so far this year.

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