Casanova cons single mum of more than $35,000

KUALA LUMPUR - He is neither good-looking nor young but this sweet-talking Casanova managed to cheat a 33-year-old single mother of nearly RM90,000 (S$35,059.50).

Claiming to be a wealthy mining businessman from China, the 37-year-old, known as Zhu, preyed on women through the "discover people nearby" function via the messaging app WeChat.

The mother of three, who only wanted to be known as Betty, claimed that she borrowed more than RM50,000 from several loan sharks and withdrew more than RM30,000 of her own money for the man, who gambled it away.

Betty said she met Zhu while on holiday with her mother in Genting Highlands in April.

"He sent a message to me via WeChat. He was still an unknown user to me at the time and claimed to be on holiday from China.

"I approved his 'friend' request and after chatting over the phone, we became friends," said Betty, who sought the help of MCA Public Services and Complaints Department head Datuk Seri Michael Chong at his office yesterday.

Betty said that as their relationship turned intimate, Zhu invited her back to Genting Highlands. It was then that Zhu started using her money to gamble.

"After losing all the money, he persuaded me to borrow RM20,000 from a loan shark, promising to repay me as he was waiting for a relative to send him money from China," she said, adding that Zhu also gambled away that money.

Betty said she borrowed RM54,500 from several different loan sharks only for him to gamble it all away.

Since then, Betty said Zhu had disappeared and that she had attempted suicide.

Chong urged other victims cheated by the same man to come forward so that he could assist them.

"I have already contacted the authorities to monitor him," he said, adding that he had received more than eight reports involving Casanova conmen since last year.

"In most cases, these conmen would lure their victim on the Internet, but in this case, using WeChat is the latest way," he said, reminding women to be wary of strangers they meet online.