Gold bars weighing one kilogram each sit on a table in the vault of gold vendor. (Photographer: Guenter Schiffmann/Bloomberg)

85-Year-Old Man Loses $74 Million in Gold Scam: SCMP

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

The elderly man was one of seven investors who lost a total of nearly HK$620 million 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 authorizing 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 U.S., Australia, Canada and New Zealand, according to the report.

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