The Hong Kong i Macao Police have arrested four additional suspects in connection with the JPEX cryptocurrency platform scam.
In accordance with a recent report by The South China Morning Posttwo individuals from Hong Kong, arrested in Macau, have been returned to the city-state where they would be investigated for their role in the JPEX saga.
The arrested couple were in possession of HK$6.5 million ($830,390) in cash and valuables, with an additional $8.2 million frozen in their casino accounts, the report added.
Although Hong Kong and Macau do not have formal extradition agreements, Deputy Police Commissioner Chung Wing-man stated that the decision on the suspects would be determined by the Macao courts.
On Saturday, the two individuals were transported from the Hong Kong-Macau ferry terminal in Sheung Wan, with their faces covered and handcuffed, to undisclosed locations in police vans.
In addition to the two individuals arrested in Macau, two other men, both aged 28, were arrested last week in connection with the JPEX case.
The recent arrests involve people described as “relatively close to the core” of JPEX, which is the largest fraud case of its kind in Hong Kong.
Total arrests at JPEX reach 18
The total number of arrests related to the JPEX scam in Hong Kong has now reached 18, with police expecting more to follow.
A number of people linked to the trading platform, including social media influencers such as Chan Wing-yee, Joseph Lam Chok and Sheena Leung, were also arrested for their involvement.
JPEX, established in 2021, targeted retail investors through extensive advertising campaigns in prominent shopping and transport hubs.
The exchange claimed to be a licensed cryptocurrency exchange and lured investors with promises of high returns, as high as 20 percent.
However, on September 13, the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission accused the platform of operating without a license and engaging in “suspicious” activities.
Amid the ongoing investigation, police in Hong Kong and Macau have received 2,417 reports of alleged losses exceeding HK$1.5 billion.
Meanwhile, analysts and industry experts have expressed concern that the fallout from the JPEX debacle will present significant challenges for virtual asset companies and hinder government efforts to expand the sector.
“At a time when people still don’t fully understand what Web3 is, the JPEX case has created a negative impression for people in Hong Kong about digital assets and the wider Web3 industry,” Cyrus Ipsaid a crypto venture investor and chief commercial officer of artificial intelligence start-up DreamWld Technology.
Despite the JPEX saga, analysts believe the industry’s long-term outlook may still be promising.
The recent enforcement actions against JPEX demonstrate Hong Kong’s commitment to building an institutional digital asset economy with strong protections for retail investors. Donald Daysaid the chief operating officer of VDX, a digital asset service provider in Hong Kong.