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Hong Kong SFC Bolsters Efforts to Crack Down on Crypto Exchanges

2 mins
Updated by Kyle Baird
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In Brief

  • The Hong Kong SFC and police have formed a task force to tackle illegal activities in crypto exchanges.
  • The collaboration includes information exchange and risk assessment of suspicious crypto exchanges to protect investors.
  • Amidst issues with JPEX, Hong Kong authorities have recorded over 1,408 fraud complaints and losses of HK$1.3 billion.
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The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has teamed up with the Hong Kong Police Force to establish a task force aimed at combating illicit activities among crypto exchanges.

“The working group was established after a high-level meeting of the two parties on 28 September 2023,” the statement declared.

Hong Kong SFC To Ramp Up Monitoring of Illicit Crypto Operations

In a statement, the Hong Kong SFC declared the formation of a task force dedicated to actively clamping down on crypto exchanges in the region.

“The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has established a dedicated working group with the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) to enhance collaboration in monitoring and investigating illegal activities related to Virtual Asset Trading Platforms (VATPs).”

The statement also highlights that the collaboration will involve the exchange of information between the police force and the regulator. Additionally, it will implement a comprehensive risk assessment process for crypto exchanges deemed “suspicious.”

The team will consist of members from various Hong Kong authorities covering diverse areas.

These include the HKPF’s Commercial Crime Bureau, Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau, Financial Intelligence and Investigations Bureau, as well as the SFC’s Enforcement Division and Intermediaries Division.

Furthermore, the goal is to safeguard the interests of investors in the region. 

This development arises amidst persistent issues involving the crypto exchange JPEX.

Hong Kong Flooded with Complaints About Crypto Exchange JPEX

Hong Kong authorities have received more than 1,408 fraud complaints concerning JPEX’s operations.

Even more concerning is the fact that the total losses incurred due to JPEX’s unlicensed activities amount to HK$1.3 billion.

Crypto data aggregator CoinMarketCap, which monitors the world’s major crypto exchanges, has categorized JPEX as an “untracked listing.” The website explains that this category is designated for projects that do not align with CoinMarketCap’s guidelines.

Extract of JPEX profile on CoinMarketCap. Source: CoinMarketCap
Extract of JPEX profile on CoinMarketCap. Source: CoinMarketCap

Furthermore, Hong Kong Police have arrested 11 people connected to JPEX. However, among those arrested, some were company employees, while others were promoting the exchange online.

Reportedly, social media influencers Joseph Lam Cook, Chan Wing-yee, and Chu Ka-fai were arrested.

Meanwhile, the HKMA recently issued a warning cautioning crypto companies against labeling themselves as “banks.”

The advisory expressly mandates that crypto firms distinguish themselves from traditional financial institutions and transparently disclose the investment risks associated with crypto.

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Ciaran Lyons
Ciaran is a cryptocurrency journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He particularly enjoys writing about CBDC developments and the practical implementations of cryptocurrency in real-world scenarios. He has also appeared across major television networks in Australia including Channel Ten, Channel Nine and SBS TV. Prior to his foray into cryptocurrency, Ciaran worked as a presenter on national radio station Triple J.