Two hundred and seventy-three Chinese nationals were arrested in the Philippines, accused for defrauding more than one thousand investors in an alleged Bitcoin scam syndicate.
As reported by Inquirer, Philippines law enforcement agents acted on a tip from the Chinese Embassy in the country to nab the suspects. According to sources privy to the matter, Philippines law officials discovered a fraudulent crypto plot in the country, which had already conned more than 1000 Chinese investors.
Conducted a raid
The local authorities collaborated with agents from the Bureau of Immigration’s Fugitive Search Unit and officials from the Chinese Ministry of Public Security and conducted a raid on Grapefruit Services—the operational base for alleged the scammers.
Grapefruit reportedly employs 277 Chinese nationals. The Pasig City-based company is a licensed service provider to Golden Millennial Quickpay Inc. Ltd, which is a crypto-allied company.
Golden Millennial Quickpay is authorized by the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) to provide services only in Pasig City. However, the company has been engaged in questionable deals. It extended its activities to Metro Manila—Philippines’ capital, which is a restricted area.
Besides, employees of Grapefruit had CEZA visas, which allowed them to work only within Cagayan’s special economic zone. The registration documents from the Securities and Exchange Commission do not allow the company to operate as an investment adviser, fiat money or cryptocurrency exchange, or as a securities broker or dealer.
Bitcoin scam suspects nabbed
Following the raid, 273 employees of Grapefruit were arrested and will be deported to their country, as their international passports have been canceled by the Chinese government.
Jaime Morente, the Immigration Commissioner in the Philippines said that he first ordered the arrest of four Chinese nationals before the local authorities seized many other suspects in the Bitcoin scam scheme. There are also rumors of some bad actors taking advantage of the country’s crypto-friendly nature to perform fraudulent activities on unsuspecting investors. Fortunately, the immigration authorities are vigilant.
As the world comes to terms with the emerging technologies of cryptocurrency and blockchain, Crypto-related scams are on the rise. Countries such as Singapore and Thailand have previously warned their citizens to be on the lookout for questionable crypto deals.