Chinese and Lao Crypto Scammers Aprehended in ThailandDate Written: September 12 2023 Written By: Joseph Singer
2023 has undoubtedly been a year of scandal in the world of cryptocurrency, with headlines ranging from the high-profile apprehension of FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried to the arrest of Turkish scammers who made off with more than $2 billion in stolen crypto. For proponents of cryptocurrency’s adoption into the world of international finance, scandals like these are like nails on a chalkboard. The choppy waters of the global cryptocurrency trade do not seem to be calming, either, after it was announced this week that a group of five scammers were arrested in Thailand after a cross-border operation involving at least three different governments.
In the end, four Chinese citizens and one Lao were arrested in connection with a scam worth more than $75 million, or more than 2 billion Thai baht.
Scam Accusations Began Surfacing over 12 Months Prior
According to the Thailand Cyber Crime Investiagation Bureau, more than 3,000 people have been victimized by the five individuals who were aprehended this week. The crypto exchange in question this time is one lesser-known outside of Asia, known as bchgloballtd.com. As of the writing of this post, BCH Global’s website is no longer functioning, though reports online suggest that the site has been down for months now, and not functioning properly for even longer.
While some scams are sophisticated in nature, the perpetrators of the BCH Global scam did nothing revolutionary or ingenious. In fact, all that happened was that BCH lured unsuspecting victims into investing in cryptocurrencies like USDT and Bitcoin, gold, and other commodities online. In exchange for the purchase of these online cryptocurrencies and shares of precious metals, BCH Global was tasked with ensuring the safekeeping of these assets such that customers could access, trade, and use them for whatever purpose they deemed fit. What was actually happening though, was that BCH Global was simply pocketing investor funds, lying about the real value of customer accounts, and then ultimately failing to pay up when withdrawals were requested.
Thai police say that complaints regarding this scam have been coming in for well over a year now, and that an investigation was begun earlier in 2023. In addition to the obvious money laundering charges the scammers now face, they will also be facing allegations of ‘colluding to commit transnational crime’ as well as ‘putting false information into computer systems.’
As of now, there is no word on just how much prison time and fines the five scammers will be facing, but if history is any indication, they will not be living outside the confines of a Thai or Chinese prison for some time. There have been numerous other cryptocurency-related scams in and around Asia, and consistently Asian authorities throw the book at the offenders. There is little doubt that this time will be any different.
Now that this scam has been uncovered, authorities expect that more victims will come forward. What’s more, both Thai and Chinese authorities continuously remind citizens that they should do their due diligence before investing, and only invest with firms that are legitimate and registered with the appropriate authorities to do business.