29th September 2023 – (Hong Kong) Hong Kong and Macao law enforcement agencies have made further progress in the JPEX fraud case, as a joint operation conducted today resulted in the arrest of four individuals. Among them, two key members were apprehended in Macao. These individuals were responsible for off-exchange trading and are suspected of money laundering. The law enforcement agencies in Hong Kong have received reports from 2,417 victims in relation to this case, involving over HK$1.5 billion. Additionally, assets worth more than HK$96 million have been frozen. So far, a total of 18 individuals, all Hong Kong residents, have been arrested in connection with the case. The investigation is ongoing, and it is not ruled out that more people may be arrested.
Investigative personnel have emphasised the high importance attached to the case by the law enforcement agencies. Substantial manpower and resources have been mobilized for the investigation. To more effectively organise and analyze the acquired data and information, the agencies have activated a major event investigation and disaster support system, commonly known as the “supercomputer,” to assist in the investigation process. The current main objectives of the investigation are twofold: first, to identify the mastermind behind the JPEX fraud network, and second, to make every effort to intercept the illicit proceeds.
According to the personnel involved, as of Tuesday, the agencies have arrested 14 men and women involved in the fraudulent network. The majority of them were responsible for over-the-counter (OTC) exchange shops associated with JPEX. After conducting investigations, the agencies targeted individuals who played more central roles in the network and conducted a joint operation with the Macao law enforcement agencies from Tuesday to yesterday. During this operation, the Maca authorities arrested two men, surnamed Lo and Ho (both 29 years old), with Lo claiming to be a network engineer. The authorities seized from Lo a total of HK$6 million worth of casino chips, luxury watches, and approximately HK$70,000 in cash. From Ho, they seized HK$500,000 in casino chips and froze his casino account with HK$3 million. Simultaneously, the law enforcement agencies froze the casino account of another fugitive, containing approximately HK$5.2 million.
In Hong Kong, the law enforcement agencies obtained search warrants and conducted searches at six targeted locations. In one of these locations, they arrested a 28-year-old man surnamed Tang, seizing approximately HK$880,000 in cash and two luxury watches. They also discovered a large volume of documents, enough to fill a bathtub, which had been destroyed using a shredder, fire, and suspected bleach. Another individual surnamed Lo, who was arrested in Macao, had his residence in Hong Kong searched. The authorities seized cash, gold bars, and valuable watches with a total value of approximately HK$8.7 million. In addition, a significant amount of documents, including unauthorised credit cards bearing the JPEX logo, were seized from two other targeted locations. Another man surnamed Wong (28 years old) was arrested. In summary, over the course of the past three days, the law enforcement agencies in both regions have arrested a total of four individuals and seized or frozen assets worth a combined HK$24 million.
Personnel are diligently tracing the flow of the virtual assets involved in the case and have identified additional suspects. However, some individuals implicated in the case have already left Hong Kong. The agencies will actively pursue international cooperation to apprehend these individuals. Additionally, the agencies welcome the suggestion made by the Securities and Futures Commission to establish a dedicated channel for intelligence exchange. A meeting has already been held to discuss the concrete implementation of this new mechanism. The personnel stress that due to the extensive and complex nature of the JPEX fraud network, the current investigation phase is just the beginning, and there is a substantial amount of investigative work ahead, including obtaining testimonies from the victims. Furthermore, individuals associated with the case still maintain that JPEX is a legitimate investment platform and hope that as the investigation progresses and details are made public, the truth will be revealed, prompting the public to exercise greater caution.