In order to steal cryptocurrency, some fraudsters set up a fake exchange shop in a rented shop in Prince United Square, and then searched for prey through social platforms, and successfully contacted a 40-year-old coin dealer who was in urgent need of cashing out, falsely claiming to help him cash out Tether. Due to the relationship between the physical store, the brokerage went to the store to conduct a transaction, and saw the clerk holding a large stack of banknotes, thinking that he was genuine, so he transferred about 400 million Hong Kong dollars worth of Tether to the cryptocurrency wallet provided by the other party. The coin dealer called the police with suspicion and confirmed that he had fallen into the scam, and it turned out that only the bottom two of the "thousand-yuan bricks" in the other party's hand were genuine banknotes, and the others were all "practice coupons". Police arrested the 27-year-old shop assistant and appealed to the public to choose money changers carefully.

Police seized 4 stacks of "money bricks", of which only the bottom of the total 8 genuine banknotes, and the rest were all "practice vouchers". (Photo by Zuo Langxing)

It is understood that the 40-year-old coin dealer who was deceived began to invest in cryptocurrencies in early 2020 and also opened a cryptocurrency exchange shop. He had a familiar money changer, but because he was in a hurry to cash out this time, and the familiar money changer was not open, he looked for a suitable store through social platforms, and unfortunately fell into a scam.

The police received a report from the coin dealer yesterday (6th) that at noon, a man claiming to be a shop in Prince Edward Union Square was offered by a fraudster for trading, and the other party showed him four stacks of $4,1 banknotes wrapped in plastic wrap. Seeing that the other party was holding "real money" and was not afraid of fraud, the victim transferred about HK$000 million worth of Tether to a cryptocurrency wallet provided by the fraudsters through the Binance platform. Unexpectedly, after the transfer, the man claimed that he could not receive instructions from the person in charge and kept refusing to pay the cash under the pretext that the victim suspected that he had been deceived and called the police.

The shop in question was rented by a 37-year-old woman in mid-November at a monthly rent of $11,8 at Prince United Square. (Photo by Zuo Langxing)

After the police arrived at the scene to investigate, they found that the four stacks of banknotes, except for the two genuine banknotes on the bottom, were suspected counterfeit banknotes printed with the words "practice vouchers". During the incident, the Police seized 4,4 suspected counterfeit banknotes and eight genuine HK$000,8 banknotes, as well as a money counting machine in the store.

On the same day, the Police arrested the 27-year-old man, who claimed to be a shop assistant, on suspicion of "obtaining property by deception" and "possession of counterfeit banknotes". and this afternoon (7th), a 37-year-old woman who claimed to be a fashion salesperson was arrested in Sham Shui Po District on suspicion of "obtaining property by deception". It is learnt that she rented the shop for one year in mid-November at a monthly rent of $11,1. The two are being detained for investigation.

The police have immediately traced the flow of the cryptocurrency involved in the case and investigated the cryptocurrency wallet involved in the case, hoping to stop the flow of the cryptocurrency involved in the case. The case is still under investigation, and more arrests are not ruled out.

Preliminary police investigation revealed that the cryptocurrency money changer opened by the fraudsters had no company registration or business registration in Hong Kong. It is learnt that the shop involved is about 40 square feet in size, has a simple decoration, has a signboard at the entrance, and has only one counter and a money detector in the store. As the Police have no evidence to suggest that a crime syndicate is involved in the case, and the Police have not received any reports from other victims, anyone who suspects that they have been deceived should report to the police as soon as possible.

Inspector Mak Sai-ho (left), Supervisor of the 10th Team of the District Criminal Investigation Team of Mong Kok District, explains the case. (Photo by Zuo Langxing)

Inspector Mak Sai-ho, Supervisor of the 10th Team of the Mong Kok District Criminal Investigation Team, appealed not to take cryptocurrency trading lightly, to choose a reputable money changer and to carefully check the security features of banknotes if a large amount of cash is involved. If in doubt, please call the Police's "Anti-Scam Helpline" at 18222 for enquiries.