A Filipina domestic helper who has sought police help against a foreign man she met online who she claimed to have fleeced her of $10,000 went to the Consulate today, Oct 31, to further strengthen her case against the alleged scammer.
Sol, 31, gave a copy of the statement she made to the Wanchai Police Station the previous Sunday to the assistance to nationals section of the Consulate.
“Nangako naman po sila na i-follow up nila,” she said, adding that she really wanted to get back the money that she lost as she had intended to send that to her family back in Davao.
But she also said she decided to file a complaint so other women, especially foreign domestic workers like her, won’t lose their hard-earned money to sweet-talking scammers like she did.
Sol first went to Wanchai Police to file a complaint against the alleged scammer who listed down his name on the dating site “Encore” as “Dennise Robert Philips.” She said she met Philips after responding to his friend request on the dating site on Oct 2.
After interviewing her, the officer from the station’s detection and investigation team said the case had already been turned over to the Hong Kong Police Force’s Anti-Deception Coordination Centre.
He said further investigation would be handled by the Tsuen Wan police, which has jurisdiction over the case as Sol lives in the district.
The officer advised the complainant to submit to the Tsuen Wan police any additional evidence she may have on the case.
In the meantime, the officer told the woman to avoid online dating sites and to tell others to do the same.
The alleged victim said she had been losing sleep over the money she lost to Philips and her disappointment at the man who she said had convincingly used quotes from the Bible and sang religious songs to her to gain her trust.
She was to learn later that at least three other Filipinas had been pursued by the same man who used different names to trick them into giving him money.
Two of the women said they lost more than $30,000 each to the same person, while the third Filipina was convinced to deposit $6,500 into a bitcoin machine, as instructed by the man, before he disappeared.
Sol gave the officer more than 50 screen captures of her message exchanges with Philips and a man named “Mr Chen.”
The alleged scammer had told her to contact Chen at the Immigration Department to request for a “letter of introduction” for his daughter so she could travel with him to Hong Kong, as he had lost his copy of the letter.
Philips reportedly introduced himself as an American businessman who lived in Tin Hau but was then in the United States to fetch his young daughter.
He said he was a Christian, a claim that attracted her because she shared his faith, the woman said.
Philips allegedly asked her to chat on Facebook Messenger. The woman said she switched to Messenger and gave him her account name.
“As we both had the same religious belief, I felt (Philips) was a good man and we became lovers during our Facebook chat on Oct 7,” the woman said.
On Oct 9, Philips reportedly sent her a message saying he was in a hotel and that he urgently needed to pay a hotel booking but forgot to bring his wallet. He asked her to send him $10,000 immediately through his bitcoin account.
The suspect sent the Filipina a QR code for the transaction and directed her to go to the T.Mark shop at 18 Tai Ho Road, where a bitcoin ATM machine was. After depositing $10,000 into the bitcoin account, Sol sent her online boyfriend a photo of the transaction record.
On Oct 13, the complainant again received a message from Philips, who said he and his daughter were stuck at Hong Kong airport because he didn’t have a “permission of entry,” which he needed to pay for.
He asked her to contact Chen again, saying he was hurting from being refused entry to Hong Kong. But the purported Immigration man told Sol that Philips needed to apply for the permit again and pay $4,500.
Philips suggested that Sol borrow money from a lending company to pay this, but this angered the Filipina, who said never in her life had she taken out a loan. When the man insisted, she told him she had asked friends and was advised to avoid him as he was a scammer.
This resulted in a heated exchange between them. On Oct 20, when she checked Philips’ Facebook account, Sol discovered that he had blocked her
The officer asked the complainant why she gave money to Philips, and she replied that she wanted to help a fellow Christian who was in trouble.
A two-page police report prepared by the officer did not mention the part about Chen. The complaints desk officer who initially interviewed Sol said there was no need to mention him because no actual monetary transaction took place between her and Chen.
But the report bore a clause that said she can add or amend information any time she needed to do so.