Table of Contents
- 798 crypto-related scams in the first half of 2022– a 105% increase from the same period in 2021.
- HK$387.9 million has been drained from Hong Kong-based digital asset firms and individuals between January and June 2022.
- Cryptocurrency scams make up the top 3 types of cyber crimes in Hong Kong.
Cryptocurrency offenses have been on a surge in recent days. According to Hong Kong police, around HK$1.58 billion have been drained through cyber offenses alone in the first half of 2022.
Among the total 10,613 cyber attacks in Hong Kong between January and June, 798 were crypto-related scams– a 105% increase considering the same period in 2021. This year, approximately HK$387.9 million has been drained from Hong Kong-based digital asset firms and individuals.
In the first half of 2021, the police logged 496 crypto-related cases involving victims losing HK$214.4 million. As per reports, along with job offer scams and fraudulent online shopping activity, cryptocurrency scams make up the top 3 types of cyber crimes in Hong Kong.
According to renowned law firm OLN, Copycat trading websites and apps are flourishing in Hong Kong. “Investors can “buy” cryptocurrency through these fake websites and apps and even see their deposited funds growing on fake charts. These platforms even allow withdrawing a small amount of money to earn trust. However, while attempting to withdraw all, investors will then discover that their money has already vanished”, OLN’s blog post warning users of crypto scams read.
Recently, a woman who runs a currency exchange store that also provides cash-to-cryptocurrency exchange services was cheated of HK$2.2 million by a scammer luring her by presenting the possibility of an international collaboration.
The rise in crypto scams in Hong Kong can be attributed to the country’s increased interest in digital assets. According to a recent survey, the special administrative region of China is the most crypto-ready country globally.
Studies have found that local government is quite open to digital assets and does not impose taxes on investors and businesses that generate profits from trading digital assets. The density of crypto ATMs in the region is indicative of Hong Kong‘s widespread crypto adoption. Reportedly, there are two crypto ATMs for every 100,000 people in Hong Kong. The regional lawmakers are also trying to introduce licensing for virtual asset service providers through Anti-Money Laundering Amendment Law.