The Hong Kong police have announced that they have arrested 24 people, including 11 insurance agents, in connection with an HK$475m ($61m) investment scam.
Around 260 victims, aged between 24 and 77, had invested in a fund which the alleged scammers claimed was set up by a “renowned international insurance group”. The individuals reported losses of between HK$200,000 and HK$20m each. Most of the victims are from mainland China.The scam took place from 2013 to 2018 when investors in the fund discovered that its value had plunged by over 90%. The fund was liquidated in February 2019. The fund was listed on a platform run by an international insurance company.
It is understood that the fund involved is the “Worldwide Opportunities Fund SPC – Hong Kong Investment Fund SP” (HKIF), a fund managed by CES Capital International (Cayman). It is one of several assets which policyholders of a non-guaranteed investment-linked life insurance product, distributed predominantly by independent brokers, can choose independently to invest in.
The police began investigating the syndicate after police started receiving reports from the insurance company and the victims from January last year.
During the 22-month investigation by the police of the case, around HK$420m worth of assets, including cash of over HK$50m and real estate valued at around HK$370m, are frozen. Those arrested face money laundering and fraud charges.