- Crypto crime rises in Hong Kong.
- Covid-19 to blame for the rise in crime, Hong Kong police says.
- Stakeholder describes UK as paradise of crypto scam.
Hong Kong police have sounded the alarm on the rate of crypto crime which has been on the rise ever since the global lockdown the entire world suffered during the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic.
The level of crypto crime the police detected since 2021 has surged astronomically to heights never seen before. According to law enforcement, over $27 million was lost to crypto crime. One singular victim lost almost $16 million.
Burgeoning rise in Hong Kong crypto crime ‘industry’
A local report by South China Morning Post also corroborated the police revelation that crypto scams have risen significantly. The figure is up by over $15 million across the whole of last year.
Chief Inspector and head of the police’s cybersecurity and technology crime bureau, Lester Ip Cheuk-yu, said that the COVID-19 pandemic caused the rise. He said people are more online at home, thereby more susceptible to hackers.
“People have also been staying at home more, which means they spend longer on the internet, so scammers have more avenues to approach them online,” he said.
An estimate by Hong-Kong police has it that between January and July 2021, 496 crypto crime cases were experienced. That means in six months, more than two crypto crimes were experienced daily.
Interestingly, more than half of the $27 million registered losses were conned out of a 30-year-old man who parted with almost $16 million after three people lured him into a shady Filecoin investment.
According to the police inspector, another cause of the problem is that residents don’t understand cryptocurrencies or “overestimate their knowledge of it.” He warned young people that they are targeted more by these scammers because they deal with digital assets more.
Beyond Hong Kong, crypto scammers operate in other parts of the world. Cases have been reported from UK, Nigeria, Turkey, the US as the list is endless.
David Lindberg, Chief Executive of retail banking at NatWest, described the United Kingdom as a paradise for crypto crimes.