At least eight people have lost HK$2 million (US$258,000) in a suspected wedding dress shop franchising fraud.
A 32-year-old man, surnamed Tse, and his wife enticed customers to invest in their Kwun Tong business by telling them a franchise can earn up to HK$900,000 year.
Apple Daily is reporting it was all a lie, citing the investors who say they have been cheated out of their hard-earned money.
A police investigation in under way. The case is being as fraud.
Two of the couple’s shops have closed without warning in recent days, leaving shareholders in the lurch.
Kwun Tong police received complaints last month from eight people who said they had invested in ENVi Bridal and its two outlets from 2012 to 2015.
They put their combined losses at HK$2 million.
A victim, named Zumi, who has been a customer since 2012, said she was persuaded by the couple to put money into the business.
Zumi said she gave them HK$300,000 and that was the last she heard of her investment.
She said she never got any statement for it, or updates from the couple regarding her money.
The two became unreachable and Zumi later found she wasn’t the only one looking for them.
On Thursday afternoon, an undercover Apple Daily reporter checked on the shop and reported seeing the couple helping customers choose a wedding dress.
They refused to answer questions regarding the fraud accusations.
Police investigators arrived and led the couple away, along with some documents as evidence.
Hung Wing-yu, chairman of the Hong Kong Franchisee Association, said franchisees have the right to access the franchisers’ financial records.
They are entitled to compensation if the business becomes bankrupt, he said.
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