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Crypto Crime Still Rising in China Despite Crackdown, Warn Authorities

source-logo  cryptonews.com 25 November 2021 07:00, UTC

Reports from Chinese provincial law enforcement agencies appear to show that crypto crime is still on the up – despite a nationwide crackdown on crypto and mining exacted in September this year.

According to Xinmin, counterfeit currency-related crime is “declining significantly” in Shanghai, per officials speaking at a Songjiang Procuratorate press conference. However, the procuratorate claimed that criminal cases where perpetrators “make use of virtual currency as a criminal tool” are on the rise, incorporating new types of fraud and “causing larger losses to citizens.”

The procuratorate stated that all but one of the cases its currency fraud-related crimes unit had handled thus far this year had been linked to crypto in some form. It also gave details of a criminal case centering around an individual surnamed Song, the operator of what ostensibly appeared to be a thriving, medium-sized crypto exchange.

The “exchange,” the body continued, claimed to give customers the chance to buy bitcoin (BTC), ethereum (ETH) and major altcoins – but the exchange was merely a front for an elaborate scam that saw Song accrue over USD 103,000 worth of “illegal profits.” All “transactions” made on the platform, the body explained, were fabricated and fraudulent. Song and five others were charged with fraud, convicted and jailed for up to 10 years.

Another “similar” case, saw fraudsters raise over USD 156,000 from victims who thought they were making crypto investments.

Despite a crackdown that Chinese authorities hoped would push crypto to the very fringes of society, media outlets have continued to report cases of crypto-related fraud rings since September. Although this may be part of an effort to cast crypto in a distinctly negative light (something Beijing has been keen to do ever since it first formulated its digital yuan plans), it also suggests that a taste for crypto is still alive and well in the Middle Kingdom.

Multiple East Asian crypto experts have told Cryptonews.com on condition of anonymity that bitcoin and altcoin traders in China are still using USD-pegged stablecoins, overseas exchanges and over-the-counter brokers to carry out transactions – following a freeze-out from domestic banks.

And other parts of the country are continuing to wage war on crypto. The Agricultural Development Bank of China’s Jinggangshan, Jiangxi Province, regional headquarters has launched a “crypto awareness” publicity campaign – featuring slogans such as: “Stay away from virtual currency, protect the safety of your funds.”

Such slogans flash up on LED display units in bank branches. 

The bank has also created a crypto “consultation” help desk – apparently another source of anti-crypto messaging. Per JX News, the bank will also seek to warn customers and city residents of the dangers of crypto via WeChat and social media channels.

Elsewhere, China CITIC Bank – China’s seventh-largest lender, has also warned against the risks of crypto-related investments. Per the media outlet 66WZ, the bank included the dangers of investing in bogus “virtual currency and blockchain technology”-related projects in a list of nine scams to steer clear of.

Away from Mainland China, crypto fraud appears to be on the rise in other parts of Asia.

In Taiwan, CNews (via Yahoo) reported that a woman aged “around 50” was lured into making what she believed was a crypto investment by an individual posing as a former classmate. 

The fraudster also appears to have pulled off a similar scam with a woman in her twenties, convincing the women to buy crypto and invest their funds on what they thought was an above-board crypto exchange or brokerage – before making off with their tokens.