More Hong Kong men are falling prey to sex chat scams as the number of cybersex-related blackmail cases rose sharply this year according to figures from the Hong Kong Police Force.
The latest police figures reported by the SCMP show there were 766 ‘sextortion’ cases in Hong Kong during the first nine months of this year. Nearly all victims were male and aged between 14 to 66.
The scams are carried out by syndicates in Southeast Asia who fool men with pre-recorded erotic clips of Asian women. The victims are then lured into undressing while being recorded. Gangs then threaten to release the footage unless they receive payment.
“The victim had no idea the so-called live video he was watching was a pre-recorded clip prepared by the gangs,” said chief inspector Sean Lin. “The victim is actually speaking to and stripping in front of a group of middle-aged men.”
Cybersex scams have risen more than 50 percent year on year since 2012, despite the arrest of a global “sextortion” ring in the Philippines last year. Swindlers reportedly made $330,000 in 2015 from victims in Hong Kong, compared with $200,000 in the previous year.
“Be alert when a pretty girl suddenly adds you on Facebook or on Skype,” cautions Lin.