A Taiwanese computer engineer was swindled out of NT$13.86 million (US$440,000) in an Internet prostitution scam, Taiwan radio said on Friday.
The man, surnamed Huang, was looking for a one-night stand when he contacted a woman named Yuan Yuan, who agreed to meet him for a certain charge, the Broadcasting Corp of China reported.
Arranging for paid sex on the Internet is common in Taiwan, though illegal.
The practice is euphemistically called yuan jiao, which means “compensated dating,” or enjo kosai, which means an exchange of sex for cash or gifts, and originated in Japan. It has gained popularity among Taiwanese teens.
After Huang, 38, transferred the money to Yuan Yuan’s bank account, he received a phone call from a man who claimed that Huang had used the wrong procedure to wire the money and had caused the bank’s computer system to break down.
He demanded that Huang transmit NT$2 million in damages or he would be killed, the radio report quoted police as saying.
After the second transaction, the man called again, claiming Huang had caused another system collapse and demanding more damages.
The man claimed the bank accounts of several lawmakers had been destroyed and that would delay upcoming elections.
Huang then took a mortgage out on his apartment and transferred more money, only to receive another call, saying he had to pay more damages because he caused another computer breakdown, causing problems on the stock markets in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Wall Street.
Within a month, Huang had wired NT$13.86 million before he reported the case to police in Hsinchu.
Hsinchu police cracked a four-man fraud ring but have not found Yuan Yuan, who they said probably does not exist.