Cryptocurrency crime in Hong Kong hits record levels

August 3, 2020

Cryptocurrency crimes and the scale of losses in Hong Kong soared to record levels in the first six months of this year, with one victim conned out of HK$124 million, according to South China Morning Post.

  • Police logged 496 such cases involving victims losing a total of HK$214.4 million (US$25.5 million) in the first half of 2021. Across the whole of last year, total losses from 208 cases stood at HK$114.4 million (US$14.71 million).
  • In the biggest Hong Kong case so far, police said a 30-year-old man was scammed out of HK$124 million in June after a group presenting as cryptocurrency consultants disappeared with his money following the currency’s devaluation
  • There were also three local cases this year in which people were robbed or conned out of millions of Hong Kong dollars in face-to-face cryptocurrency transactions.
  • According to police, cryptocurrency crimes tend to fall into one of three categories: using cryptocurrency for money laundering; online shopping fraud where buyers or sellers may be robbed during face-to-face transactions; or investment scams where sellers disappear after taking a victim’s money.
  • Another common tactic involves online dating scams, where con artists gain victims’ trust to invest on their behalf.
  • In the case of the 30-year-old merchant who lost HK$124mil (RM67.37mil), the victim was approached by two men and a woman in their 30s introducing themselves as investment consultants. They recommended investing in Filecoin on the basis it would deliver big returns, Superintendent Wilson Fan Chun-yi said.
  • The victim handed over money in two instalments in February and April. Filecoin’s share price dropped from US$168  to US$73 prompting the victim in June to try and withdraw the cash. But the merchant could not contact the group and sought help from police.

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