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Singapore woman spared from love scammer by Taiwan FamilyMart clerk

Conman demanded she send NT$50,000, threatened violence if she failed to pay

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Tainan police officer assists Singaporean woman outside FamilyMart convenience store. (Tainan City Police Department photo)

Tainan police officer assists Singaporean woman outside FamilyMart convenience store. (Tainan City Police Department photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A FamilyMart employee helped a Singaporean woman avoid being cheated out of a large sum of money by a love scammer this month.

A 24-year-old Singaporean graduate student surnamed Zhao (趙) traveled alone to Taiwan earlier this month to meet a man who identified himself as "Chen Chen" (陳宸), according to the Tainan City Police Department. When the man failed to show up, and he messaged her demanding that she purchase gift cards worth NT$30,000 (US$954) from a FamilyMart in Tainan.

Luckily, a clerk suspected it was a scam and helped her from being tricked. On Nov. 4, the clerk, working at a FamilyMart on Minzu Road in West Central District, alerted the Tainan City Police Department 2nd Precinct that a Singaporean woman might have been defrauded.

The woman told officers that she had met the suspect on Tinder. Chen claimed he would be her tour guide if she visited Tainan. He had told her to meet him at the FamilyMart, but made up excuses not to come.

Instead, Chen asked her via Line to purchase NT$30,000 worth of Apple gift cards. He also claimed he was the host of an evening entertainment venue, and to meet him, she would need to send a NT$20,000 "meeting fee," reported The Straits Times.

When Zhao expressed reluctance, Chen reportedly sent her a graphic video of a person suffering from stab wounds to the abdomen. He demanded that she "cooperate," among other threatening messages.

Police officers told Zhao this was an online dating scam frequently seen in Taiwan. Zhao said that through the dating app, Chen made her feel that she had found love, and she had no idea he was trying to con her.

Officers then escorted Zhao back to her downtown hostel. Zhao expressed gratitude to the Taiwanese police for their helpful assistance.