85-year-old man loses $74 million in gold scam

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An 85-year-old man has
become Hong Kong’s biggest victim of a bullion trading scam after being
conned out of HK$580m ($74m) over two years, according to
South China Morning Post.

The elderly man was one of seven investors who lost a total of nearly
HK$620m in a scam which involved trading gold on the London
commodities market, the newspaper
reported on Friday, citing unidentified people.

Hong Kong police
confirmed the arrest of 14 people related to deception in an emailed
statement to Bloomberg News, while it declined to comment on the
specifics about the 85-year-old victim.

The so-called “London gold fraud” has been around in Hong Kong for
many years. According to Hong Kong police website, fraudsters usually
lure victims into fake precious metal transactions through cold calls.

They would then ask victims to deposit money into an investment account
and sign documents authorising a third party to trade on their behalf.
Victims eventually find themselves losing all their capital as a result
of hefty commission and investment losses from frequent transactions.

That’s what happened to the 85-year-old man. He received his first
cold call in the middle of 2016 about trading gold and had made a lot of
transactions in two years, the newspaper said.

Other victims in the
scam were ethnic Chinese from Taiwan, the US, Australia, Canada and
New Zealand, according to the report.

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