18th September 2023 – (Hong Kong) In a recent development, the Hong Kong Police received a referral from the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) regarding JPEX, a virtual asset trading platform that allegedly failed to apply for a licence to operate in the city. The Commercial Crime Bureau took charge of the investigation and launched a significant operation involving arrests and searches on the 18th of September. This comes after reports of the arrest of social media influencers Joseph Lam Chok and Chan Yee this morning on charges of conspiracy to commit fraud. The police conducted searches at multiple cryptocurrency exchange stores that had promoted JPEX, including the “Coingaroo” exchange stores located in Tuen Mun Town Plaza and Lockhart Road, Causeway Bay.
At around 4pm, witnesses observed the presence of uniformed and plainclothes officers at the Tuen Mun branch, conducting investigations, taking photographs, and gathering evidence. The store was cordoned off with barricades. In addition, the Causeway Bay branch was partially shuttered and had police tape deployed.
Coingaroo, self-proclaimed as the largest USDT exchange store in Hong Kong, had previously promoted JPEX. In response to the JPEX incident, the company had already made a social media post last Thursday (14th) stating that, in accordance with the public notice issued by the SFC, they would no longer mention or promote unlicensed exchanges on their page. However, other exchange services, both large and small, continue to operate. Reporters visited the Mong Kok branch on the same day and found that the store was open for business. However, employees informed customers that they were unable to process withdrawals and awaited instructions from the management.