What makes a dating app swindler?

Sometimes the criminal court is asked to deal with difficult questions of dating and relationships. This is exactly the case when the court has to decide if two men are “Tinder swindlers”.

In HCMA 524/2021 and HCMA 551/2021, the court was tasked to see if two men were rightly convicted of fraud. In upholding the conviction, the court examined the modus operandi of these cons.

Although the precise method may vary, the men were acquainted with ladies over a dating app, and they asked to meet up for a dinner date. Then, the man would claim it is his birthday and ask their date to buy them expensive presents such as a suit, an Apple watch, or even an iPhone. After getting his gifts, the man would then excuse himself, abruptly ending the date.

While anyone could see the difficulty in saying that someone wheedled and cheated the heart of someone else, it is interesting to note that the two men were found guilty because they falsely claimed that it was their birthday when it wasn’t. Perhaps if it happens to be the men’s birthday, they would not have committed any offence at all.

It really shows the difference between something that is morally wrong or legally wrong. After all, human behaviour is so complicated that it tests the limit of our law from time to time.

What makes a dating app swindler?
Gordon Chan avatar
Gordon Chan, Esq

Barrister of the High Court of Hong Kong. Member of the Bar Association's Committee on Criminal Law and Procedure. Specialised in medical, technology and criminal law.

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