Eight arrestees in JPEX case unveiled, including Joseph Lam Chok, social media influencer, and others

From left to right: Chan Yee, Joseph Lam Chok, Tang Lap-shun.

19th September 2023 – (Hong Kong) In a press conference held on Tuesday (19th), the police and the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) provided details of the JPEX case, revealing that a total of eight individuals have been arrested with a sum of around HK$1.2 billion involved. Among the arrested is Tang Lap-shun, who was previously accused alongside “The Young Master of Bitcoins” Wong Ching-kit in a minor debt case last year. Two other arrested individuals are employees of JPEX and have served as company secretaries for the Hong Kong-registered entity.

In addition to Joseph Lam Chok, a social media influencer who claimed to be unemployed, another social media influencer named Chan Yee, whose real name is Chan Wing-yi, was also arrested. Alongside them, a 31-year-old self-proclaimed unemployed individual named Chan Hoi-yee, who was identified as the owner of “Cyotc Cryptocurrency Exchange Shop” based on business registration records, was also arrested. Three of them, along with the other five arrested individuals, have been granted bail this evening and are required to report to the police in mid-October. According to the police and SFC, the JPEX case involves four men and four women.

The other two arrested individuals are a 22-year-old woman named Tsang Chor-Shun, who claimed to be a third-year university student, and a 22-year-old man named Chan Hiu-ho, who claimed to be unemployed. They have both previously served as company secretaries for the Hong Kong-registered company “JPEX Technical Support Co. Pty Ltd,” which was later renamed to “Web3.0 Technical Support Limited” in April 2022. The director and shareholder of the company before and after the name change is Kwok Ho-lun. In addition, two other individuals who were arrested include a 26-year-old man surnamed Lee and a 52-year-old woman surnamed Chung.

JPEX, whose full name is JP-EX CRYPTO ASSET PLATFORM PTY LTD (PEX), was established in Dubai in 2019 and has been regulated by the Dubai regulatory authority, Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA). However, the official JPEX website does not provide detailed information about its founder or professional team.

As early as September to October 2020, JPEX had obtained cryptocurrency platform licenses in Canada, the United States, and Australia, with each jurisdiction having different departments: JPEX in the United States served as a strategic advisor, JPEX in Australia mainly focused on market promotion, and JPEX in Canada was responsible for development and planning.

While JPEX has not disclosed the identity of its founder, there seems to be a connection with two Hong Kong-listed companies. According to public announcements made by Cocoon Holdings Limited (0428) and Hmvod (8103), the two listed companies had previously announced collaborations with JPEX Technical Support. However, starting from April, the two listed companies announced the termination of their memorandum of understanding with the cryptocurrency exchange JPEX. According to the company registry documents, Kwok Ho-lun is the director of JPEX Technical Support and also owns a Hong Kong blockchain media company named “CoinLedge.” When advertising in Hong Kong, JPEX used phrases such as “Japanese cryptocurrency exchange,” “super popular,” and “Japan Exchange.” The registered addresses displayed on their website in Chinese, Japanese, and English versions differ, stating Tokyo Minato-ku Shimbashi 6-1-401 and Rm 401 6-Chōme-8-1 Shinbashi Tokyo Japan.

However, JPEX does not hold any licences in the Financial Services Agency (FSA), the regulatory authority for virtual currencies in Japan, nor is it listed in the FSA’s registry of registered companies. The Japan Exchange Group (JPX) clarified last year that similar names like “JPEX,” “jpex,” and “Japan Exchange” could lead to misconceptions about its connection to JPX, warning the public not to be misled by the similarity. JPEX later explained that the company and JPX are not related in any way, as their trademark designs and business operations are completely different.

On 28th June, 2022, JPEX announced the launch of the Crypto Punk & REDHARE NFT INDEX, offering leveraged contracts to provide a risk-hedging investment tool for mainstream NFT holders. Crypto Punk asset holders can use JPEX to short Crypto Punk index contracts and hedge against risks associated with spot assets when identifying market trends.