Hong Kong police have arrested two men accused of scamming a businessman out of more than HK$11 million (US$1.4 million) in an investment deal after luring him with monthly interest payments and the free use of grade A office space, the Post has learned.
A source familiar with the case on Thursday said a long-time friend of the 36-year-old victim introduced him to an employee of a locally listed company, who then lured the businessman into supposedly purchasing bonds supposedly issued by the firm in 2021.
“To trick the victim into believing he was making profits, he was told that the monthly interest of the bond investment comprised a monthly payment and the rental fee for an office in Tsim Sha Tsui,” the source said.
The man began using the grade A office space as part of the deal, which was believed to have cost as much as HK$90,000 a month, he said. He also received monthly payments of about HK$100,000 on average.
Between March 2021 and January 2022, the businessman invested more than HK$11 million across three transactions for the supposed bonds, according to police.
The source said the initial transaction was conducted by bank transfer while the other two were made in cash.
He said a preliminary investigation suggested the money was not put into bonds, but was instead pocketed by the scammers.
“The bond certificates given to the victim are bogus documents.”
The victim became suspicious last year when he was unable to reach his original contact and ceased receiving the purported interest payments.
The source said the scammer had left the listed company last year and a probe revealed the Tsim Sha Tsui office was rented by a firm he had set up.
After inquiring with the listed company about bond records and finding out no such investment existed, the victim reported the case to police on June 28.
Officers on Wednesday arrested the former employee of the listed company, 37, at his flat in Central and the victim’s friend, 35, in Tsuen Wan. Police also seized related fake documents.
The two men were detained on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and were granted bail pending further investigation. In Hong Kong, fraud is punishable by up to 14 years in jail.
Police handled 18,743 deception cases between January and June this year, an increase of 52 per cent from 12,326 logged over the same period in 2022. Losses from cases this year reached HK$2.69 billion, up 28 per cent from HK$2.1 billion recorded in the same period in 2022.