Hong Kong’s Security Minister, Chris Tang Ping-keung, has committed to tracking down the mastermind behind the cryptocurrency platform JPEX.
Currently, twelve suspects have been arrested, and authorities have seized over HK$8 million in cash, as well as assets worth HK$77 million, including real estate and virtual currency.
The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) of Hong Kong has announced its intention to publish several lists related to virtual asset trading platforms (VATPs).
The Secretary for Security, Chris Tang Ping-keung, recently pledged to track down the mastermind of the cryptocurrency platform JPEX. Moreover, following the exchange’s probe, the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) of Hong Kong announced that it will publish a list of firms that have applied for its newly launched retail crypto trading licenses.
(Read more: HK Crypto Platform JPEX Halts Trading Amid Regulatory Scrutiny)
Securities Chief to Hunt Down JPEX Ringleader
The Security Minister, during a press briefing, pledged to bring to justice the mastermind behind the cryptocurrency platform JPEX, which resulted in losses totaling HK$1.5 billion (US$191.9 million) and victimized over 2,392 individuals.
“Police are doing their best to locate the whereabouts of the leader of the platform. This is definitely a major factor in their investigation… We will by all means hold the culprits accountable for their crimes,” he stated.
According to Tang, currently 12 suspects have been arrested and authorities have confiscated over HK$8 million in cash, along with assets valued at HK$77 million, including real estate and virtual currency.
“Anyone involved in the case but not staying in Hong Kong would still be under investigation,” said Tang.
He remarked that they have a system in place to request the assistance of foreign law enforcement agencies in investigations, if necessary.
SFC to Release Lists
Accordingly, the securities watchdog announced in a statement that it will publish a list of licensed virtual asset trading platforms (VATPs), a list of VATPs that are closing down, a list of VATPs that are deemed licensed as of June 1, 2024, and a list of VATP applicants “in response to public demand.”
“To help the public more easily identify suspicious VATPs doing business in Hong Kong and enhance awareness, the SFC will enhance and issue a dedicated list of suspicious VATPs which is easily accessible and with prominence on the SFC’s website,” the SFC said.
The SFC also noted that the lists will also demonstrate the dissemination of information through the Alert List, warnings, and investor education. It also stated that investor knowledge can be further enhanced to assist members of the investing public better understand the potential risks entailed by suspicious websites or VATPs.
“The JPEX incident highlights the risks of dealing with unregulated virtual asset trading platforms (VATPs) and the need for proper regulation to maintain market confidence,” it added.
HK Retail Crypto Trading Licenses
In June 2023, Hong Kong opened retail cryptocurrency trading which significantly loosened the country’s existing regulations. It allowed exchanges to serve retail customers. HashKey Exchange and OSL Digital Securities Ltd. have been granted the first two cryptocurrency exchange licenses in Hong Kong under the regulatory framework.
Crypto exchange Houbi stated that its Hong Kong entity was offering crypto trading to local retail traders. On the other hand, exchanges Gate.io and BitMEX announced that they will apply and offer dedicated crypto trading services. OKS also expressed its desire to apply for a license in HongKong.
Tang stated that four other companies—HKVAX, HKBitEx, Hong Kong BGE, and Victory Fintech Company—have applied for a license and are awaiting approval.
Recently, Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange JPEX faced regulatory scrutiny in Hong Kong and has halted all new trades following a warning from the SFC amid consumer complaints. The SFC has denied JPEX’s claims of registration with the regulator and warned promoters about such claims.
Following the JPEX’s regulatory scrutiny, the Filipino influencers affiliated with it distanced themselves from the exchange. Web3 education platform Bitskwela also announced that it is terminating its partnership with JPEX.
This article is published on BitPinas: HK Securities to Hunt Down JPEX Ringleader
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