JPEX Scandal Sparks Creation of Hong Kong Police Crypto Crimes Group
On October 4, the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) of Hong Kong, in collaboration with the Hong Kong Police, announced the formation of a special group to monitor and investigate crimes related to crypto exchanges.
The initiative was prompted by the ongoing controversies surrounding the JPEX exchange, a leading Hong Kong crypto entity based in Dubai.
Cracking Down on Crypto Exchange Malpractices
The alliance between the SFC and the Hong Kong Police Force began to take shape after their meeting on September 28. The primary objective of the newly established group is to monitor unlawful activities associated with virtual assets trading platforms (VATPs) within the Hong Kong territory.
One of the major catalysts for the initiative was the ongoing scrutiny of the JPEX exchange. Accusations arose that JPEX was advertising its services without securing the necessary license from the SFC. This oversight, combined with other illicit activities, allegedly resulted in the loss of approximately $166 million, impacting over 2,086 investors. Consequently, this incident has been labeled as the biggest fraud case in Hong Kong’s history.
In response to these allegations, Hong Kong authorities took decisive action. After thorough investigations, the Police detained 18 individuals believed to be linked with the JPEX incident. This situation underscored the pressing need for enhanced crypto regulation and oversight in Hong Kong.
In a subsequent move, JPEX suspended its crypto asset operations in Hong Kong on September 18. The exchange cited biased actions from relevant authorities and adverse media reports as reasons, claiming these factors led its liquidity partners to lock its funds.
A Renewed Focus on Crypto Regulation in Hong Kong
Angelina Kwan, a former SFC official, has previously highlighted the potential for Hong Kong to implement stricter regulations on the virtual assets market.
With the formation of this new group, there is now a dedicated team to monitor VATP illegalities. The team will actively report suspicious activities and will also evaluate potential risks and threats posed by questionable exchanges, while also actively participating in related investigations.
This dedicated group brings together officials from various departments within the Hong Kong Police, including the commercial, cybersecurity, and financial intelligence and investigation units. Representatives from the SFC’s enforcement division will also be part of this collaborative effort.