Philippines deports Korean, Chinese nationals in $33M crypto scam

Philippines deports South Korean, Chinese suspects in $33M crypto scam

The Philippine government, through its Bureau of Immigration (BI), has deported South Korean and Chinese nationals back to their respective countries on charges of scamming investors of $33 million that was supposedly used to purchase BTC.

According to news outlet Manila Bulletin, South Korean national Go Yongsung, 48, and Chinese national Lian Lilong, 36, were two of six suspects who had gotten their South Korean victims to put their money in a pyramiding scheme, promising large returns with BTC that turned out didn’t exist. The total of $33 million was said to have been collected from December 2015 to June 2016. The four other suspects, said to be of Chinese nationality, remain at large.

The South Korean government is expected to charge Go of large-scale fraud. The Chinese embassy, meanwhile, is charging Lian over his involvement in economic crimes. Their passports had been revoked, allowing the Immigration bureau to arrest them on charges of undesirable and undocumented aliens. The arrests were made in separate operations in different parts of Metro Manila.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said, “We reiterate our warning to all foreign criminals who are hiding in the country that the long arm of the law will eventually catch you and we will send you back to your homelands.”

Similar pyramid schemes have proliferated worldwide, some involving the actual purchase of cryptocurrencies, others merely using ‘Bitcoin’ as a buzzword to pique investor interest. Seoul-based Shinil Group used an elaborate fantasy of having found the remains of an old Russian cruiser that contained $131 billion worth of gold. The treasure was promised to the investors of the ‘Shinil Gold’ coin, who had forked out a total of $53.1 million to Shinil, even without evidence of anything of value in the ship.

Last April, Philippine police arrested a couple that had been accused of taking about $17 million from investors who had been promised a 30% return every 15 days, supposedly through buying BTC.

In Vietnam, a cryptocurrency mining company called Sky Mining ran off with a total of about $35 million, after promising investors annual profits of 300%.

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