By Casey Quackenbush
August 29, 2018

A 21-year-old Hong Kong woman wanted to get a job in the beauty industry. Instead, she got married to a stranger in China.

Such is the bizarre episode of an anonymous woman in Hong Kong, who appears to have a fallen victim to a marriage scam after participating in a “mock” wedding as part of a job examination, the South China Morning Post reports.

The woman said she took part in the simulated marriage as a part of a test for a job as a wedding planner. She had originally applied for a post as a make-up artist advertised on Facebook. But the alleged scammer convinced her to apply as a wedding planner instead, which she was told paid higher than the $1,800 monthly salary of a make-up artist.

The woman agreed and took a free-training course in June for the wedding planning post. But to pass the exam, she had to go to Fuzhou, China’s southeastern Fujian province. During the ceremony, she and her “husband” signed a real marriage document, The Post reports.

“They said they would void [the marriage record] afterwards,” the woman said.

If a Chinese resident marries a Hong Konger, they may apply for residence in the city.

It wasn’t until the woman returned to Hong Kong that she realized she was actually married and sought legal counsel. Hong Kong police were reportedly unable to assist her case, so she approached the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions (FTU).

“It’s a new form of marriage scam,” Tong Kamgyiu, director of the Rights and Benefits Committee of FTU, told the BBC. “I feel disappointed and cannot believe it’s even happening in modern Hong Kong.”

Hong Kong police deal with an average of 1,000 Hong Kong-China marriage scam cases annually, the BBC reports.

 

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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