Romance cum investment scam Kill Pig Plate

February 08, 2021 11:12
Photo: Reuters

Said to be one of the top 10 internet lingoes in China for 2019, the proven internet scam tactic Kill Pig Plate have defrauded billions of dollars from mainlanders and is now increasingly being used to target Hongkongers.

The police on Monday warned that this hybrid scam that combines romance and investment has already led to reported losses totally HK$85 million last year, accounting for about one third of the money defrauded by online investment scams.

Among the 181 cases, a piano teacher who fell prey to “a wine company boss” posed by a scammer on a gay dating app, reported the biggest losses of more than HK$13 million, according to local reports.

One female victim met a “forex analyst” through a social media platform and lost about HK$6 million.

As the standard tactic, the con artists often swarm popular dating or social media apps to “look for the pig”. They typically bill themselves as tall, rich and handsome, and pretend to be warm and caring to build trust. Then their financial pursuits and investing interests would be brought into the conversation.

When they believe the “pig” is ready for slaughtering, the scammer would invite the victim to download some dubious investment app he uses. Such apps may look polished but in fact they can’t be found on official platforms like Google Play and Apple App Store.

To provide some incentive and positive reinforcement, the victims may be allowed to win and cash out initially.

“Some victims would receive profit after investing. This is how the scammers ask the victims to invest more,” detective chief inspector Alan Chu said.

Senior inspector Cheung Man-hon said losses suffered by these victims were generally higher than those in traditional romance scams.

Police arrested last week 17 people who allegedly belonged to a syndicate that ran such Kill Pig Plate scam.

Officers are warning the public of an increasing trend of such fraud and pledge to step up education.

Sadly, although internet scams are nothing new and many people are well aware of them, the reality is, people keep falling into these traps regardless of the amount of warning.

-- Contact us at [email protected]