Hong Kong police arrested a 24-year-old man on Tuesday for allegedly stealing funds from a Hong Kong citizen, an offence that carries a maximum sentence of ten years in jail. The victim and two colleagues were allegedly enticed into a meeting room of a shop in Tsim Sha Tsui, where the victim transferred $HK1.5 million (US$191,085) to an e-wallet.
The defendant then left the scene on the guise of getting money for the victim. The woman and her coworkers subsequently learned they were locked in and alerted the authorities, who located the victim on Tuesday in Sham Shui Po, Kowloon’s northern district.
Although no money was recovered, police did seize some of the suspect’s personal belongings from the phoney shop, which had been hired under the name of a shell corporation. “The banknote counter was not connected to electricity inside the shop.” “What appeared to be laptops were actually empty cases,” stated Yau Tsim criminal investigation unit Inspector Tong Sin-tung on Wednesday.
Tong urged residents to exercise caution when dealing with unknown individuals and to use trustworthy sites. In a different incident in June 2021, a man was duped out of HK$124M by two men and a woman who promised huge returns for investing in Filecoin, a cryptocurrency. When the victim discovered that he couldn’t withdraw his funds due to a drop in the price of Filecoin and that the alleged investors were unable to be found, he contacted authorities.
In Hong Kong, cryptocurrency crimes, particularly those involving money laundering, are nothing new. Criminals convert the money to cryptocurrency in order to facilitate quick cross-border transactions. Authorities believe that $3.72 billion in ill-gotten gains moved through Hong Kong bank accounts and cryptocurrency wallets since the establishment of an anti-fraud law enforcement division in July 2017. Police were able to interfere in approximately 31% of those transactions.
At the same time, HK$19.94B is still in the hands of international criminals. “Deception victims are duped into directly transferring cryptocurrencies to the e-wallets given by the perpetrators,” authorities stated. As a result, the former British colony compels all cryptocurrency trading platforms to register with a local authority and follow anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regulations.