The Summer of Scam may be drawing to a close, but not before claiming another victim. This time, it’s a 21-year-old Hong Kong woman who says her company tricked her into marrying a stranger as part of her training to be a wedding planner.
According to the South China Morning Post, back in May, the woman, who asked to remain anonymous, responded to a Facebook post advertising apprenticeships for make-up artists. After she applied, the company told her she could make more money as a wedding planner, and arranged for her to take a free training course. In June, she flew to the city of Fuzhou in the Fujian province of China to pass a “wedding planning exam,” which included a mock marriage.
She and her “husband,” a man she said was around her age, both signed the marriage certificate, which her company told her they would have voided afterward. It was only when she got back to Hong Kong and told her friends what happened that she realized it was a scam.
The woman went to police who said they were unable to help because of a lack of evidence, so she took the case to the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions (FTU), which is looking into it now.
Though the exact motive for the scam is unclear, similar operations have been used before to take advantage of a law that allows mainland Chinese residents who are married to a resident of Hong Kong to apply to live there.
“It’s a new form of marriage scam,” Tong Kamgyiu, the director of the Rights and Benefits Committee of FTU, told the BBC.
“The 21 year-old lady was taken advantage of while she knew nothing about the circumstances,” he said. “Her biggest loss is to have a marriage record, and it has caused her psychological damage.”
Only time will tell if, in true rom-com form, the woman will find her fake/real husband and, over the course of trying to get their marriage dissolved, realize that maybe she actually does love him after all. Or maybe these scammers will be brought to justice and she can move on with her life, who knows.