Woman Gets Scammed Into Marrying Total Stranger
A 21-year-old woman from Hong Kong who though she was undergoing a ‘mock wedding test’ to secure a job as a wedding planner ended up officially married to a total stranger from mainland China.
The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, told authorities that her ordeal began in May of this year, when she saw a social media posting about a job as a make-up artist apprentice. It offered a monthly salary of HK$14,000 (US$1,800) as well as free training, and required no previous work experience at all. Most people would call that “too good to be true”, but the young woman decided it was the opportunity of a lifetime. Turns out she was wrong.
After applying for the job, the 21-year-old woman was convinced to train as a wedding planner instead, as she could earn even more money, depending on commissions. It just so happened that she had a particular interest in wedding planning, so she didn’t require much convincing.
She then took a free wedding planning course in Hong Kong and was told that in order to get her diploma, she would have to travel to Fuzhou, in mainland China’s Fujian province, where she would take a final exam that included a mock wedding to a man of similar age.
Apparently, the woman only started suspecting that something wasn’t right, when she and this man she was “pretending” to marry were taken to a local government office where they signed an official-looking document. However, her doubts were quickly put to rest by the “mock wedding” organizers who reassured her that they know the mayor and would void the marriage certificate as soon as the test was concluded.
It was only after returning to Hong Kong and telling one of her friends about the bizarre test that the woman realized she had been scammed into marrying a total stranger. Her job opportunity dissolved and the people she had been in contact with vanished as soon as she signed her official marriage certificate.
The woman remains married for now, and may have to file for a divorce in order to regain her single status. It is unclear who the man she married is, but his motives are not too hard to figure out. Cross-border marriage scams are quite common in China, as mainland residents get to apply for residence in Hong-Kong if they marry someone already living there. Only 150 permits are issued every day.
“The 21 year-old lady was taken advantage of while she knew nothing about the circumstances,” said Tong Kang-yiu, director of the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions (FTU). “Her biggest loss is to have a marriage record and it has caused her psychological damage.”