Authorities in Hong Kong Arrest Two Individuals on Charges of Using Cryptocurrency to Launder $385 Million

Hong Kong Customs detained two individuals in connection with the alleged laundering of $380 million via digital asset trading.

Officials from Hong Kong Customs said Tuesday that they had detained two persons accused of laundering over $380 million using their personal bank accounts and a cryptocurrency trading website.

The suspects, a 28-year-old lady and her 21-year-old brother, were detained in Yau Tong, a residential neighbourhood in Hong Kong, after information acquired from unidentified sources.

The police alleged that between May and November 2020, the two suspects created personal accounts at multiple institutions in Hong Kong, including an online bank and a cryptocurrency trading platform. Following that, the pair transferred monies through bank transfers, cash deposits, and cryptocurrency transactions.

Both men were detained for “dealing with goods known or reasonably believed to be the proceeds of an indictable act,” according to customs officers.

The siblings have been freed on bond under strict conditions while the investigation is underway, but further arrests are anticipated. If proven guilty, the suspects face a maximum sentence of 14 years in jail and a fine of $5 million under Hong Kong law.

Criminals Using Cryptocurrency

As cryptocurrency continues to grow in popularity and gains worldwide acceptance, criminals have transformed it into a playground, utilising it to do illegal activities such as money laundering, drug trafficking, and terrorism funding.

Chinese police detained over 1,000 people in June on suspicion of using crypto assets to launder money for telecommunications network fraud.

In October 2020, a Rotterdam court confiscated bitcoin worth around 29 million euros and sentenced two bitcoin dealers to jail terms of two and two and a half years for money laundering activities.

Meanwhile, as criminals increasingly use cryptocurrency in their nefarious operations, officials worldwide are looking for measures to limit the risk. In September, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) announced intentions to require cryptocurrency providers to adhere to anti-money laundering regulations.

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