Several Chinese nationals have been arrested in Thailand and are under suspicion of being involved in an international cryptocurrency scam.
Cryptocurrency Attracts More Crime in Thailand
Roughly 24 people are now in police custody. All were allegedly part of an organization that targeted investors in China through a cold-calling scheme that persuaded them to purchase “bitcoin at inflated rates,” according to law enforcement officials. All were arrested in a rented office known as “Galaxy Place” on the 2nd of December.
Among the items that police officials confiscated from the location were over 60 computers and 400 cell phones. Thai immigration officials were responsible for the raid. The passports of the individuals were seized by the person in charge of the organization, who according to a statement, has not been apprehended by police. Thus, the immigration statuses of all involved are currently in question.
Many that were part of the scam say that the head honcho brought everyone onboard with the idea that they would obtain free lodgings and work steadily for a minimum of three months, earning more than 540 pounds for each month.
However, they later had their passports taken and were forced to engage in workdays exceeding 12 hours. From this perspective, it appears the employees were also victims of the scam alongside the investors they were looking to steal from. At press time, it is unclear how many investors were victimized by the scam or how much the employees made before their arrests.
Situations like these do not put cryptocurrency and bitcoin in a good light. It’s true that crypto has a lot of powerful and positive attributes to it and that it can potentially solve some of the world’s leading financial problems, but the fact is that so many people have already made up their minds about crypto – that it’s consistently tied to crime and other malicious behavior, and these stories do not work to alleviate those attitudes.
2019 has been a big year for crypto-related crime. Among some of the largest stories to occur recently involve a criminal drug bust in Australia and more than $1 million in crypto funds being confiscated after drugs were discovered in a child’s toy that was being shipped from the United Kingdom.
It’s Been a Big Year for Crypto Theft
In addition, popular cryptocurrency exchange Up Bit in South Korea was recently robbed of nearly $50 million in ether funds, while the city of Johannesburg in South Africa was held hostage by hackers who were seeking a bitcoin ransom in exchange for reentry to the city’s websites and computer networks.
Thailand itself has become a serious haven for crypto crime, with the founder of One Coin Sebastian Greenwood fleeing to the country to avoid arrest, only to be extradited back to America late last year.