KOTA KINABALU: Talk of marriage and a vow to fight all obstacles together cost a woman more than RM150,000 in losses following a cheating case in the city.
The woman, who only wanted to be identified as Ting, 27, had matched with someone who called himself “Chin” through a chat and social media app about three years ago.
The sales executive had chatted with the Sarawakian for over a year but never met him.
Throughout their online relationship, Chin, who said he was 39, managed to trick her into believing that he needed money for cancer treatment and other financial woes that he needed help with.
It was only after a year later that they finally met up unintentionally, because when Ting first met Chin in person, she did not know that he was the one she had been chatting with as well.
“It was after several meetings and engagements that I suspected something amiss, because he knew information and secrets that I only shared with the man on social media,” she said.
She said after confirming his identity and confronting him, she had started asking for her money back.
He had repaid RM20,000 once, but then asked for it again a few days later, with the excuse that he needed it for something important.
In total, Ting had transferred about RM150,000 to the man in more than 40 online transactions, all the while willingly doing it because she believed that her boyfriend was truly ill and that they would get married after he recovered from his “cancer”.
“Some of the money was from my savings while some, I borrowed from family and friends,” she said, adding that she had found out there were other victims of the same scammer.
One of these victims was an accountant named Soo, 31, who had fallen into Chin’s trap after believing that he was a successful investor.
“Chin was my neighbour and after knowing him for over a month, he asked if I was interested in investing,” he said.
He said Chin had rented a nice house and a luxury vehicle.
Soo had given a total of RM103,000 to the man between March and May this year, all transactions in cash.
Chin had told him that some of the investments were making losses and that he needed to top up more cash for it to stay afloat, and later also claimed to need money for medical treatment and surgery.
“It was after he refused or seldom replied to my messages that I felt that I had been cheated and asked for my money back,” he said.
He had also used some of his marriage funds and borrowed from family and friends for the non-existing investments.
Both Soo and Ting, who do not know each other, lodged police reports in July this year.
They had brought their cases to Luyang assemblyman Phoong Jin Zhe separately with the hope that people would be aware of this man, who is still active on social media and most likely trying to scam others.
“We hope the police can solve this matter as soon as possible. I was also made to understand that this suspect is being investigated in Johor for similar allegations as well,” Phoong said.
Kota Kinabalu OCPD Asst Comm Zaidi Abdullah said he will give an update on the cases later.