A small group of foreigners in Pasay City in the Philippines have been arrested after allegedly stealing almost $100,000 (PHP5 million) worth of cryptocurrency. The thieves, who were identified as Chinese nationals, were turned over to the Chinese embassy for further processing. However, the subsequent investigation revealed that they were all simply pawns for another criminal.
According to the Pasay Assistant Chief of Police for Operations, Superintendent Gene Licud, a Chinese citizen, You Jin Gai, approached the Station Investigation Division Management Branch (SIDMB) over the weekend, claiming that his cryptocurrency had been stolen, The Manila Times reported. The victim was able to identify the suspects, and gave the police their names: Lai Ze Lin, Chen Xiao Yu, Cheu Zhi Pens, Wu Zhao Hua, Zhou Jin Lian and Xu Bao Yi.
All six were rounded up on Sunday by the SIDMB. Investigators determined that they had not perpetrated any crimes, but that they were only employees of the real criminal, a man named Chen Yi. They all subsequently turned to the police for help, claiming that Chen had “promised them an honest work here in Philippines.” Chen has not yet been located, authorities said.
The Philippines has been cracking down on all types of illegal activity, particularly that associated with cryptocurrencies. It busted a major ring of Chinese and South Korean nationals last month that were involved in a $33-million crypto scam. Immigration Commissioner Jamie Morente said at the time, “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.”
Pasay City is taking an especially hard stance against illegal activity. The city’s police chief, Senior Superintendent Noel Flores, said after the latest crackdown, “We will always continue our mandate in serving the Pasay City through our relentless anti-criminality and anti-illegal drugs operation with the observance of human rights in all our police operations in order to maintain peace and order and public safety.”
While there is no way to permanently rid the world of scammers, fraudsters and thieves, the efforts of law enforcement offices around the globe to clean up the cryptocurrency industry will go a long way to ensure crypto can mature and evolve as a viable alternative to fiat.
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