• A 90-year-old Hong Kong woman was defrauded out of the equivalent of R456 million by phone scammers, police said.
  • The scammers posed as Chinese fraud investigators who said they needed her to transfer her money.
  • A 19-year-old has been charged with fraud in the scheme.
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A 90-year-old Hong Kong woman was defrauded out of HK$250 million – the equivalent of R456 million – by phone scammers posing as Chinese officials in what appears to be the city's largest recorded phone scam, police said.

Police said on Tuesday that a 19-year-old has been arrested and charged with fraud in the scheme, according to AFP.

The scam was discovered when the 90-year-old's domestic helper called the woman's daughter with concerns that something suspicious was happening. The daughter then called the police.

Police said the scammers called the 90-year-old woman pretending to be Chinese public security officials, and claimed she someone using her identity was involved in a money laundering scheme in mainland China.

The scammers then told her she needed to transfer money from her bank to an investigation team as they looked into the mainland scheme.

Days later, a person went to the woman's house and gave her a mobile phone to communicate with the fraudsters, still posing as Chinese officials, police said.

The fraudsters convinced her to make 11 bank transfer, police said.

A police source told the South China Morning Post that the person who was arrested is believed to be the person who visited the woman's home. South China Morning Post said at least two others have also been arrested.

The woman was one of several elderly women targeted in The Peak, a wealthy neighbourhood in Hong Kong, police said.

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