Michelle Chong hams it up to show up scammer

SINGAPORE -Local comedienne posts exchange with fake 'ang moh' on social media and gets flak

No, she wasn't being nasty to lonely, well-meaning men looking for love online.

She simply wanted to make an example of those she believes are part of a syndicate out to swindle women.

But some misconstrued her intentions.

Local actress-director Michelle Chong was tickled when she received a Facebook message from a stranger two weeks ago.

He told her that he loved her Facebook profile and wanted to chat with her. His profile picture showed a middle-aged Caucasian man in a suit and the profile stated he was in London.

Her reply: "Ok! Are you got many money? (sic) I love American men!"

Chong, who took it to be a scam, posted the exchange on her social media accounts.

While some loved her cheeky sense of humour, others berated her.

The comments ranged from "Why you so bad? He sounds quite nice" to "Why you make ang mohs sound like cheats and playboys?", and the vindictive"You must have been cheated before!"

Shocked by the negative reactions, Chong realised some thought that she was making a fool of her alleged admirer.

Her good humour quickly turned to anger and frustration as she had to repeatedly explain herself on various social media platforms.

She also posted three more screen shots of her subsequent conversation with the man.

Accompanying the pictures, she wrote: "To prove to the ignorant people (who scolded me for my slamming the scammers) that this is a syndicate and not A REAL ANG MOH MAN and that they just mass e-mail the same pick-up lines to all potential victims (read: female profiles), I decided to reply to (the man)."


Chong, 37, told The New Paper over the phone yesterday that it was obvious the Facebook message was a mass message sent out by a syndicate out to cheat lonely women of their money.

"These scammers will say they love your charming smile, even if your profile picture is that of a cat," she said.

"Then eventually they'll ask you to send money to them."

Despite the backlash, many women have also sent messages to Chong, telling her of similar messages they received.

"The funny thing was that many of these scam profiles used the same picture but different names. I don't know why some people just didn't get it and scolded me."

While she had received messages like these earlier, such as one last year from a "Nathan Phillips", this is the first time she is replying to it.

She had also posted a screen shot of that message on Instagram.

Meanwhile, those who enjoyed Chong taking the mickey out of Mr Smith asked for more.

Chong, who is famous for playing sarong party girl Barbarella on Channel 5's satirical news programme The Noose, milked her comedic chops and obliged her 38,000 followers and fans on Facebook and Instagram.

When the man asked her where she was "form" and called her "my dear", she replied: "I form Singapore in China. You know my dear?

"Where is you come form? Is really you form London?

"Wow is nice! I wish go America see you!" Chong wrote.

While she stopped engaging the man a day after his initial message, Chong said that there is a lesson to be learnt from this entire episode.

"I was so irritated because if you want to be a scammer then at least put more effort in it," she said.

"And I find it offensive that they always use a picture of an ang moh to get to women."

I was so irritated because if you want to be a scammer then at least put more effort in it. - Michelle Chong Going by the recent spate of cases, it seems that many women have fallen victim to online love scams.


It was revealed in Parliament in March that Internet love scams rose by over 60 per cent. There were about 80 reported cases last year. Online Romeos broke not only their victims' hearts but also their bank accounts - to the tune of more than $5 million in 2013, five times the amount in 2012.


More of these conmen are claiming to be American or British.

This was verified by officials from the Embassy of the United States in an April newspaper report. They reported seeing a "sudden spike in cases of Singaporeans being scammed of their money by people claiming to be Americans who they met online", the report said.

Women victims were chosen from online dating sites or social networks.

Eventually, the conmen would ask the victims to transfer money. Victims who were tricked last year were aged between 19 and 74.


In 2011, a widow was conned of $1 million in an Internet love scam.

She thought that the man with a British accent, who had called after hearing of her husband's death in 2010, was his business partner.

Over a year, he asked her for money often.

By the time she realised in late 2011 that she was being fleeced, it was too late.

This article was published on May 5 in The New Paper.

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