A 24-year-old Singaporean woman's search for a Tinder "date" in Taiwan turned sour when the person didn't show up at the convenience store they were supposed to meet at.
The "date" even threatened her with a gory video and said that was what would happen to her if she didn't cooperate to buy them NTS$30,000 (about RM 4,500) of Apple gift cards at a convenience store.
Store staff discovered scam
In a statement to Mothership, the Tainan police department spokesperson said they were alerted to an incident at a convenience store along Minzu Road in Tainan City at around 9pm on Nov. 4, 2023.
The convenience store staff suspected that a female customer was scammed and called for the police's help. The spokesperson said two police officers rushed to the store and prevented the female customer from getting scammed.
"Date" promised to be tour guide after meetup
In an account she shared with the police, Zhao (transliteration) said she had met a man who calls himself "Chen Chen" on a dating app. Zhao, a graduate student, was on a solo trip to Taiwan.
According to Shin Min Daily News, she met the man on Tinder In the statement, Tainan police said Chen offered to be her tour guide and asked to meet at the convenience store.
Claimed to be a "model" and asked for a "meetup fee"
However, when Zhao went to the convenience store, the man was nowhere to be seen. According to Shin Min, Chen claimed to be a "model" for a nightclub, and his "agent" wants Zhao to pay a "meetup fee".
He then asked her to purchase NTS$30,000 (about RM 4,500) of Apple gift cards and transfer the points to him. He also sent a gory video, threatening her to "cooperate" or what the video shows would be what would happen to her.
Thought Taiwan police were involved with the scammers
According to the Tainan police, when the two police officers arrived, Zhao was visibly nervous. A body cam footage showed Zhao explaining why she was afraid to call the local police for help.
She said her friends told her that Taiwan police had underworld connections. One of the police officers answered, "This is Taiwan. I'm not so sure about Cambodia, though."
Appearing to be an effort to get Zhao to calm down, the police officers pointed out that every country in the world would have police officers that "more or less have underworld connections".
"We are only human," one police officer said. Zhao, who appeared even more shaken, refused to believe the police officers were there to help her and, at one point, said, in a crying tone, "I always thought the (Taiwanese) police were with (the scammers)".
A Tainan police spokesperson said that after more persuasion and further explanation of scammers' tactics, Zhao finally believed she was scammed. "The police officers then brought her back to her accommodation, and she thanked the police officers repeatedly for their help," the spokesperson said.