4 Hong Kong customs officers arrested in first anti-crypto laundering operation

Officials from Hong Kong said that they had successfully dismantled a money-laundering syndicate that used cryptocurrency for the processing of HK$1.2 billion ($155m) in illegal funds.

Senior Superintendent Mark Woo Wai Wai Waikwan explained to reporters that it was the first time in Hong Kong that a money-laundering ring using cryptocurrency for dirty cash laundering and hiding the source of criminal funds had been caught up.

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Hong Kong customs officers arrested

Investigators stated that four men were arrested, including the alleged leader of the syndicate. Some HK$20million was frozen.

To convert laundered crypto into cash, the men opened local bank accounts with shell corporations and executed transactions via a virtual currency trading platform.

In the last 15 months, around 60% of the funds went through Singapore bank accounts.

Officials said that the group was trading in Tether privacy coins. Because they are harder to track than traditional cash transactions, cryptocurrencies can be a boon for criminal networks and launderers.

Many countries are taking action against fraud

China announced last month that it had arrested over a thousand people in connection with the purchase of cryptocurrencies using proceeds from crime.

British police announced Tuesday that they had seized a record PS180million ($250 million) worth of cryptocurrency suspected to have been used in the criminal enterprise.

China bans cryptocurrency trading. Recently, authorities closed mines in the country and warned banks not to engage in such transactions.

Beijing has focused its attention on cryptocurrency over the past months, as it increases its regulatory crackdown against the tech sector.

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