Chinese Actress Tang Wei Falls Victim to $35,000 Scam (Report)

Cannes Film Festival | Cannes, May 11-22
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"Wu Xia" star Tang Wei (in Valentino) at the Weinstein Co. VIP press event by Vitaminwater at the Hotel Martinez on May 13.

Reaction online to the "Lust, Caution" star's plight has been a mixture of sympathy and derision, after she was conned into transferring money over the telephone.

Chinese actress Tang Wei, who was banned from acting by the government for a year after her steamy role in Ang Lee's erotic thriller Lust, Caution, was swindled out of $34,692 (210,000 yuan) in a telecommunications scam, local media reported.

Tang was filming in the Songjiang district of Shanghai when she reportedly received a fraudulent phone call persuading her to wire the money to a local Bank of Communication outlet.

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Tang, whose last movie Finding Mr. Right scored big at the Chinese box office, was shooting the Mabel Cheung-directed The Tale of Three Cities, which tells the remarkable story of Hong Kong star Jackie Chan's parents in 1930s China.

Police have recently been advising people, particularly expatriates and wealthy urbanites, to be cautious after a series of telecom-related scams, the Shanghaiist reports. In November 2013, two expats in the Pudong financial district were swindled out of $3.9 million, the biggest scam reported in Shanghai for many years.

The reaction online to the news of Tang's plight was a mixture of sympathy and derision, with some calling her naive for falling for the scam.

The Songjiang District Public Security Bureau confirmed to local media that Tang filed a complaint over the weekend, but a police press officer surnamed Zhou refused to comment further.

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The 34-year-old actress fell victim to the scam while shooting in Chedun town, the news portal reported. A bank teller reportedly tweeted that she had opened a new bank account at his bank.

While it was not exactly clear how the grift in question was orchestrated, a common con in China is for a scammer, often posing as a police officer, to call up a potential victim and say his or her bank account has been compromised, usually because of a hacker.

The scammer then urges the target to immediately transfer any money he or she has to an account set up by the police. After the transfer is completed, the scammer moves the money to a new account (or network of accounts) that the criminals control.

Tang's agent said she was not upset by the scam and was continuing with the shoot.