South Korean Police Shut Down ‘International Crypto Fraud’ Ring, Freeze $1.2m
South Korean police have shut down an international cryptocurrency fraud ring and frozen 1.2 million worth of Bitcoin. The gang, which operated in the Philippines and Thailand, had targeted investors in more than 30 countries, including South Korea, Japan, and the United States, the police revealed today.
The investigation by the Cybercrime Unit of the Gyeonggi Nambu Provincial Police Agency unearthed the fraud ring led by a 50-year-old South Korean man identified only by his surname, Park, and his accomplices. It was found that the gang had come up with an intricate series of scams designed to gain illicit profits by deceiving investors.
Park and his accomplices promised investors the opportunity to make profits through their cryptocurrency-related activities at an abnormal speed. The fraudsters allegedly provided false information about success stories and the existence of investments made by celebrities in the digital asset space in order to encourage investments. Additionally, statistics were fabricated to keep the hype about the firm going.
The police uncovered that the criminals had converted the investors’ assets into cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, and had laundered a total of 1.2 billion won (approximately $1.2 million) over the course of their operation. The investigation also revealed that Park had used the earnings to purchase real estate in the Philippines and gambling in Macau.
As their operations were trading with overseas investors, the Gyeonggi Nambu Provincial Police Agency collaborated with police agencies from other countries for the investigation. In particular, cooperation between South Korea’s cybercrime unit and the PNP Cybercrime Division in the Philippines was critical in bringing the fraudsters to justice.
The investigation also revealed that Park and his accomplices used a “cryptopawnshop “to further their malpractices. This “cryptopawnshop” was used to secure cryptocurrencies from unsuspecting investors and to provide fake investments.
With the investigation coming to a full circle, police have frozen the 1.2 million won worth of bitcoins of the fraudsters to be returned to the victims and ordered Park’s arrest. Additionally, Minister Yoon Sung-chan, from the Ministry of Justice, has commented that the government is ready to take strict measures against those participating in cryptocurrency-related crimes.