Actress Tang Wei first shot to stardom playing a student activist who seduces a spy chief in Lee Ang’s thriller Lust, Caution (2007). Her politically sensitive role – she helps her lover, a Japanese collaborator, survive an assassination attempt – was not without consequences. She was blacklisted in China and Tang lost most of her endorsement income. Her experience deterred other actors from playing ‘unpatriotic’ roles.
Last week Tang featured in another cautionary tale. Hong Kong’s Apple Daily reports that the actress, working on a film project in Shanghai, became the victim of a telephone scam when she was persuaded over the telephone to wire Rmb210,000 ($34,500) from one of her bank accounts.
A spokesman for Songjiang District police in Shanghai admits that Tang filed a report in mid-January about the incident but he declined to reveal details, saying that the case is “still under investigation”. Her agent later confirmed to Apple Daily that the scam had taken place, urging others to remain vigilant against fraud.
According to the Guangzhou Daily, Tang received the phone call from “the police” and was told there was suspicious activity involving her bank account. To avoid any liability, she should transfer all the money in the account to another account that the police could control.
The actress quickly transferred the cash.
The newspaper also revealed that the entire film crew in Shanghai received the same fraudulent message but that Tang was the only one who acted on it.
The case provoked a lot of discussion on weibo, with some expressing sympathy for the actress. Others called her too naïve.
“Tang Wei is such an innocent goddess,” one netizen lamented.
“Perhaps it’s not too surprising that Tang was the only one who fell for the trap. After all, she only went to film school and is an actress, so…” another wrote more witheringly.
Others blamed the film crew for not warning the actress: “Are telephone scams so commonplace that the rest of the crew didn’t even bother to mention it to others? If they had warned Tang, she wouldn’t have been fooled,” Hong Kong radio celebrity Cha Xiaoyin, wrote on her personal weibo.
“Telephone scams have become so rampant that everyone has had some sort of experience with them. Even movie stars get cheated. It just goes to show that in this toxic environment, everyone can be a victim,” Information Times warned.
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