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Victims in Asia, Europe and U.S. fight back against online romance scams

Volunteer group says criminal networks originally from China target people abroad

"Pig-butchering" swindles, long run in the Chinese language, are targeted increasingly at Anglophone residents of nations in Asia and beyond, including in Europe, the U.S. and Australia. (Source photo by AP and screenshot from victim's WhatsApp message)

PHNOM PENH -- For four months, 38-year-old Lydia Chng, a Malaysian nurse working in Singapore, thought she was talking to Li Beizhi, a 34-year-old interior designer from Shanghai living in Vancouver.

He had introduced himself on Instagram in June, and they soon started talking on WhatsApp. He told her of his childhood, of being raised by his grandmother after his parents divorced, of his love of drawing. 

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