According to reports, crypto-related fraud in Hong Kong accounted for over 50% of the $407 million stolen from the city’s residents through tech crimes by 2022.
Some countries around the world are suffering more financial losses due to cryptocurrency scams, despite the huge bear market in 2022.
In Hong Kong, crypto fraud losses totaled $US1.7 billion ($216.6 million) in Hong Kong last year, up 106% from the previous year, according to local police.
The number of crypto scams in Hong Kong is expected to reach 2,336 by 2022, a 67% increase from the 1,397 reported by police in 2021, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported.
Crypto fraud in Hong Kong accounted for more than 50% of the HK$3.2 billion ($407 million) stolen from the city’s residents through technology crimes, according to data from Hong Kong police website CyberDefender. In the previous four years, online fraudsters collected similar amounts, or about HK$3 billion a year.
By 2022, around 23,000 technology-related crimes will be reported.
According to the SCMP, police say the use of cryptocurrencies as a tool for online fraud has increased because fraudsters are able to hide their identity, transaction flow and final destination. One expert said the use of crypto in cybercrime has made it harder to track illicit funds.
The Hong Kong Police Bureau’s Cyber Security and Technology Crime Division also released some observations related to typical crypto fraudsters, with such criminals apparently highly skilled in ‘ayasi’ investing in cryptocurrencies, precious metals or currency products. Such people often dupe victims by creating fraudulent investment apps that show fake transactions and returns, police said.
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The Hong Kong government is increasingly involved in the development of cryptocurrency infrastructure, tying its cryptocurrency regulation plan to China’s blanket crypto ban that will take effect in 2021, the report said. In February, Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission released new proposals for public comment on a licensing regime that will apply to crypto exchanges from June 2023.