Even as the cryptocurrency industry emerges, there is the unfortunate prevalence of several types of crypto scams across the globe and they cut across different countries and come in different formats from investments scams to the targeting of the cryptocurrency of victims through various methods. This is, to an extent, a side effect of cryptocurrency being an emerging industry and not a great deal of knowledge been available about it to some members of the public. Thankfully, law enforcement around the globe is becoming better skilled at prosecuting these crimes.
It was reported on September 15, 2019, that Philippines police raided the office of an ongoing crypto scam and made several arrests in an operation that had been targeting Chinese investors.
The operation in question took place on September 11, 2019, in the offices of a firm called Grapefruit services in Pasig city and this was done in conjunction with Bureau of Immigration, the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission and the National Police’s Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group.
Phillipino police were first made aware of the activities of these criminals by the Chinese embassy who claimed that they had already defrauded thousands of Chinese investors on the mainland. The Chinese government had canceled the passports of these individuals which made them illegal workers within the Philippines and after the raid took place, a total of 227 individuals were arrested, all of whom Chinese nationals.
Up till the raid, Grapefruit had been running Golden Millennial Quickpay Inc. Ltd., which was an operation which operated under license from the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA). CEZA is a government entity that oversees the Cagayan special economic zone and Freeport which was created by the country to help attract International on local investors and is located in the north of the country. The company has been operating outside of this designated zone in which cryptocurrencies were allowed and thus, had run afoul of the law.
In the Philippines, there is a draft law of the treatment of initial coin offerings in which they are defined as security and must be registered and regulated by the necessary bodies. In February 2019, CEZA introduced a new set of laws that were to govern the use of digital tokens and was created to make sure that all parties within the industry comply with the laid down laws.