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Police in Hong Kong, Macau break up romance scam syndicate suspected of swindling 17 women out of HK$21.5 million
A joint operation between police in Hong Kong and Macau has broken up a fraud syndicate suspected of swindling at least 17 women out of HK$21.5 million (US$2.8 million) in online romance scams.
The three-week operation, code-named “Guardway”, led to the arrest of one man and two women on suspicion of fraud and money laundering in Hong Kong, local police said on Wednesday.
“They were the holders of the bank accounts that were used by the syndicate to launder the proceeds of the crime,” the force said in a statement.
In Macau, authorities arrested two men and two women. One of the men was believed to be the ringleader of the syndicate.
According to Hong Kong police, the gang conned 10 local victims out of HK$20 million and another seven out of HK$1.5 million in Macau.
Police said the fraudsters looked for targets online and, after developing close romantic relationships with them, requested they make money transfers under various pretexts.
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