Vendors claiming to sell dog meat online have allegedly used the product as a gimmick to trick people into downloading malicious mobile applications in order to swindle them, police said on Monday.
Lester Ip, an acting superintendent of the cyber security and technology crime bureau, told a press conference that scammers are believed to have used two social media pages to advertise and sell suspected "fragrant meat", in an attempt to lure customers into downloading the bogus Android app.
Customers would be asked by the malware to give various permissions, and to share their bank account information on a fake login page to enable scammers to transfer their savings.
For non-Android users, they would be told to send HK$30 to an account claimed to be linked to an animal protection organisation – which has denied any involvement in the case.
Officers said similar tactics were reported since September and they had logged 11 cases involving losses of more than HK$1.36 million. No one has been arrested so far.
"[The alleged scammers] had transformed from using low prices to attract customers to shop and install the app, into selling suspected dog meat as a gimmick in an attempt to create some noise in society, and attract animal lovers to approach the sellers, install the app, in order to identify the sellers," Ip said.
He said there is currently no evidence to show that the case has anything to do with the sale of dog meat.
The force also said it believes there is cross-boundary involvement in this case, and it's exchanging intelligence with overseas counterparts.