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JPEX scandal masterminds still at large as 11 suspects taken into custody: Report

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Hong Kong’s law enforcement authorities have disclosed that the orchestrators of the JPEX cryptocurrency exchange remain at large and are now enlisting the assistance of Interpol to pursue their capture.

The masterminds responsible for the alleged cryptocurrency exchange scandal involving Hong Kong’s JPEX, often dubbed as the city’s most significant financial fraud incident to date, have managed to elude capture, despite authorities detaining 11 individuals for questioning in connection to the case.

According to a report published on September 23 by the South China Morning Post, law enforcement agencies have received a staggering 2,265 complaints from victims of the exchange, with the estimated financial fallout amounting to approximately $178 million (1.4 billion Hong Kong dollars).

These complaints seem to revolve around difficulties in withdrawing cryptocurrency from the platform. On September 15, the JPEX exchange raised its withdrawal fees to an astonishing 999 Tether.

The list of individuals reportedly taken into custody for questioning thus far includes Joseph Lam Chok, a prominent figure in the cryptocurrency sphere, who has made repeated efforts to publicly distance himself from the exchange.

In connection to the scandal, law enforcement has also apprehended three employees of the JPEX Technical Support Company, as well as two influential YouTubers, Chan Wing-yee and Chu Ka-fai, boasting a combined following of over 200,000 subscribers.

Among those sought for questioning or already apprehended are the company’s sole director, Kwok Ho-lun, a director associated with the restaurant industry, and three celebrities who had previously endorsed JPEX in various capacities.

However, the key orchestrators of this operation remain elusive, according to Hong Kong’s authorities. Law enforcement agencies have assured the public that the investigation is ongoing, and further arrests are anticipated in the near future.

Local law enforcement has also reportedly sought the collaboration of Interpol and other international enforcement bodies after identifying suspicious cryptocurrency transfers originating from the JPEX exchange. Furthermore, they have formally requested local telecommunications providers to block access to the exchange’s website.

The JPEX scandal initially came to light on September 13 when Hong Kong’s financial regulatory authority alerted the public to the receipt of over 1,000 complaints concerning the unregistered cryptocurrency exchange platform, with reported losses exceeding $128 million (1 billion HK dollars).

Subsequently, the exchange proceeded to shutter several of its yield-bearing products and significantly increased its withdrawal fees to 999 USDT, attributing the move to alleged “malicious” freezing of liquidity by third-party market makers.

At that time, JPEX contended that it had made earnest attempts to register with relevant authorities and cited perceived “unfair” treatment from regulatory bodies, including the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC).

In a statement dated September 20, the SFC revealed that JPEX had been operating without the necessary license for virtual asset trading.

As per its official website, JPEX claims to be headquartered in Dubai and asserts that it holds licenses for cryptocurrency trading activities in the United States, Canada, and Australia. Established in 2020, JPEX purportedly oversees assets totaling $2 billion and aspires to be counted among the world’s top five cryptocurrency exchanges.

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