The JPEX saga continues to unfold with new developments emerging.
Recently, authorities in Hong Kong and Macau orchestrated a series of arrests involving 18 suspects linked to the JPEX cryptocurrency exchange case.
They managed to seize a substantial sum of $2.8 million, a combination of cash and gold. The operation, revealed last Friday, resulted in the apprehension of two Hongkongers, both aged 29, in Macau.
Notably, authorities confiscated HK$6.5 million (US$830,390) in cash and valuable assets from the duo.
Additionally, approximately HK$8.2 million was frozen in their casino accounts, shedding light on their connection to over-the-counter cryptocurrency changer shops.
This crackdown led to the forfeiture of casino assets, along with the recovery of $1.7 million in cash.
It is worth noting that Hong Kong and Macau lack official extradition agreements.
Assistant Police Commissioner Chung Wing-man emphasised that the fate of these suspects now rests in the hands of the judicial system in the casino hub.
The detained individuals were escorted, handcuffed and concealed, to the Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Terminal in Sheung Wan around 6pm on Saturday. Subsequently, they were transported away in police vehicles.
In a related development, two more individuals were arrested, with one of them attempting to destroy crucial evidence.
Documents were reportedly shredded and bleached in a bathtub, underscoring the gravity of the situation.
The Hong Kong Police Force is actively engaged in locating additional suspects, particularly those associated with fraud and money laundering charges.
Assistant Police Commissioner Chung Wing-man acknowledged that the investigation has brought them closer to individuals “relatively close” to the core operations of JPEX.
However, it remains unclear whether the mastermind behind JPEX is an individual or a collective entity.
Furthermore, several individuals believed to be connected to the case are currently located outside Hong Kong.
In such instances, the police will collaborate with international authorities to ensure that justice is served.
It is pertinent to mention that the police have received a staggering 2,417 complaints against the trading platform, involving alleged losses exceeding HK$1.5 billion ($191.6 million) as of last Friday.
Chief Superintendent of the police force’s Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau Cheng Lai-ki expressed:
“This case involves thousands of e-wallets and tens of thousands of transactions. Because of the anonymity of cryptocurrency in the cyber realm, it makes it quite difficult to identify the criminal behind (this case),” said Cheng Lai-ki, chief superintendent of the police force’s Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau. We will make every effort to hunt down the syndicate and also trace the cryptocurrency.”