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Hong Kong Police Arrest Three in HK$5.1 Million Virtual Investment Talk Show Ticket Scam

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Hong Kong Police Arrest Three in HK$5.1 Million Virtual Investment Talk Show Ticket Scam

  cryptonews.com 1 h

Hong Kong Police Arrest Three in HK$5.1 Million Virtual Investment Talk Show Ticket Scam

Hong Kong police arrested on Tuesday three individuals linked to a fraud syndicate that allegedly defrauded at least 10 residents out of HK$5.1 million (US$653,900) through fake virtual investment talk tickets.

Authorities revealed that the victims were deceived into bidding for fake tickets to a virtual investment talk show with the intention of reselling them for a profit.

Hong Kong Police Arrest Three in Fake Virtual Investment Seminar Ticket Scam

Police reported that the syndicate invited targets to an investment seminar at a grade-A office in Kowloon Bay. The scammers lured the attendees into a fraud scheme with promises of high returns and no risk, bidding on admission tickets for an investment talk show through a sham trading platform controlled by the syndicate.

Acting Superintendent Man Cheuk-hei of the Sau Mau Ping district stated that the scammers persuaded the victims to deposit money into a bogus trading platform, promising a monthly return of 7% interest.

The syndicate, which began operations in November 2022, faces charges of conspiracy to defraud, which carries a potential prison sentence of up to 14 years. Police seized five mobile phones and cash amounting to HK$15,000 and 30,000 yuan (US$4,145).

Hong Kong police arrest 3 over investment scam duping victims of HK$5.1 million https://t.co/9fs1tCA3dz

— South China Morning Post (@SCMPNews) May 21, 2024

Inspector Tam Ho-yin of the Sau Mau Ping district crime squad explained that the bidding for each ticket started at 100 Tether coins, equivalent to HK$780. Victims were told they could sell the tickets the next day at a markup of 300 Tether coins but faced high handling fees for their bids. As the bidding price increased, the fraudsters claimed they would eventually repurchase all tickets at an inflated price of 15,000 Tether coins.

“The money supposedly won by the victims during this process belonged to other victims,” Tam said.

Some victims, who made profits, introduced their family and friends to the scheme. The trading platform ceased operations when the syndicate could not find new targets, leaving those who remained with substantial losses.

Tam added that when victims tried to withdraw money, scammers made excuses and refused. Fraudsters even demanded exorbitant administrative fees before processing any requests. Notably, the police urged other potential victims to come forward.

Hong Kong SFC and Police Force Partner to Combat Crypto Scams

Hong Kong has seen a major rise in fraud cases, with a 42.6 percent increase in reports last year, totaling 39,824 cases compared to 27,923 in 2022. Financial losses from these cases surged by 89 percent, reaching HK$9.1 billion in 2023, up from HK$4.8 billion the previous year.

In response to the growing number of scams in Hong Kong’s cryptocurrency space, the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) and the Hong Kong Police Force have partnered to tackle the issue. The collaboration was solidified during their meeting on September 28. The primary objective of this newly established group is to monitor unlawful activities associated with virtual asset trading platforms (VATPs) within Hong Kong territory.

A major catalyst for the initiative was the ongoing scrutiny of the JPEX exchange, the biggest fraud case in Hong Kong’s history. Accusations have surfaced that JPEX was advertising its services without securing the necessary license from the SFC. The oversight and other illicit activities allegedly resulted in losses of approximately $166 million, affecting over 2,086 investors.

To prevent individuals from falling victim to scams involving bogus and unlicensed crypto platforms, the SFC has made public a list of licenses, encompassing unlicensed and suspect VATPs and those on the verge of shutting down. The list also features VATPs currently awaiting SFC approval.

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