Several Hong Kong residents lost a total of nearly HK$120 million (US$15.4 million) in an alleged cryptocurrency investment scam, according to police reports. Many affected say warnings about the suspicious trading platform came too late, according to the South Morning China Post.
The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) added Hounax to its list of suspicious virtual asset sites on November 1. However, by that time, investors’ money was already tied up in the scam through months of carefully orchestrated trust-building.
Losses Total in the Millions
- Police have received 88 reports from 131 victims claiming losses close to HK$120 million
- A retired 69 year old woman reportedly lost HK$12 million, the biggest reported individual loss
- The ages of known victims range between 19 and 78 years old
Maintenance worker Ng, 50, said he first connected with the scammers in April via Facebook. Posing as financial experts in a WhatsApp group, they built trust over months before recommending the Hounax platform in August. Ng invested HK$150,000 but only discovered the scam when trying to withdraw funds on November 14.
Accountant Wong, in his 40s, tells a similar story. After following a YouTube channel posting bogus financial tips in June, she joined a fraudulent WhatsApp group. Small cash prizes for answering group quizzes convinced her to open a Hounax account. Though suspicious of some platform details, two successful withdrawals built trust. She lost HK$100,000.