Johor woman ‘heartbroken’ after losing RM60,000 to love scammer posing as Singaporean actor Desmond Tan

The scammer took on the persona of Kai Li’s favourite actor Desmond Tan (pic) to trick her into handing over the money. — Pictures from Instagram/thedesmondtan and AFP
The scammer took on the persona of Kai Li’s favourite actor Desmond Tan (pic) to trick her into handing over the money. — Pictures from Instagram/thedesmondtan and AFP

PETALING JAYA, Aug 4 — A woman in Johor was left “heartbroken” after losing RM60,000 to a scammer who impersonated her favourite Singaporean actor, Desmond Tan.

The 50-year-old marketing manager, known as Kai Li, told Chinese daily Lianhe Wanbao that she lost the money over a period of eight months before she finally wised up.

Her conversations with the scammer began when she received a private Facebook message from Tan’s official account last year.

As one of the heartthrob’s most dedicated fans, Kai Li was naturally over the moon.

“He thanked me for my constant support and I was really happy. I’ve supported him since he took part in Star Search and every one of his dramas.

“I’m his number one fan. Since the message came from his verified account, I believed it was him,” said Kai Li.

The scammer then asked Kai Li to continue chatting on other messaging apps like Line and WeChat where they began an online relationship.

Screenshots of their conversation provided to Lianhe Wanbao shows how the imposter charmed their way into Kai Li’s heart by using affectionate nicknames like “baby” and “dear” and romantic phrases like “I love you so much.”

Tan is known for being one of the Eight Dukes of Caldecott Hill, a term referring to young, up-and-coming actors from Mediacorp in the 2010s. — Picture from Instagram/thedesmondtan
Tan is known for being one of the Eight Dukes of Caldecott Hill, a term referring to young, up-and-coming actors from Mediacorp in the 2010s. — Picture from Instagram/thedesmondtan

After a week of chatting, the scammer asked Kai Li to meet him in Shanghai and asked if she could cover 30 per cent of the travel expenses.

Kai Li coughed up RM7,000 without hesitation but the trip fell through and there was no way for her to get her money back.

The scammer blamed Tan’s management agency for messing up their travel plans and later asked Kai Li if she could lend RM3,000 to help him with tax problems.

A similar incident repeated itself at the end of the year when the scammer invited Kai Li to Shanghai once again to spend Christmas and New Year’s together, this time asking her to send RM10,000 for the travel fees.

The trip was a failure once again and Kai Li later received another message from the fake Tan who asked if she could lend him RM40,000 to terminate his contract with his agency.

“He said that he was dissatisfied with the company that messed up our two overseas trips, so he quarrelled with the company and wanted to terminate the contract.

“He told me that after the termination of the contract, he will have freedom and he will be able to fall in love with me openly.”

Kai Li ended up pawning her jewellery, selling her car and even borrowing from loan sharks as a result of the love scam.

When she finally realised that she was being tricked, Kai Li said she was “heartbroken” and blamed herself for being foolish and believing the scammer’s lies.

Tan told Lianhe Wanbao that he was initially unaware of the incident that Kai Li went through but was distressed to learn of the consequences.

He said that he would only communicate with his fans through his official fan club and would never contact a follower directly through private messages, let alone ask to borrow money from them.

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