Hong Kong officials have undergone their first crypto laundering bust today, catching a syndicate funnelling some $155m in illegal funds.
Four men have been arrested and bailed, while a separate stash of cash has been frozen.
“It is the first time in Hong Kong that a money-laundering ring involved in using cryptocurrency to wash dirty cash and conceal the source of criminal assets was broken up,” senior superintendent Mark Woo Wai-kwan said.
The men used shell companies to open multiple bank accounts locally and made transactions through an online currency exchange platform to turn laundered crypto into real cash for clients.
Around 60 per cent of the funds had been syphoned through bank accounts based in Singapore over the last 15 months.
Officials said the group had been trading in privacy coins issued by the cryptocurrency Tether.
Crypto-crime has been on the rise, as the digital currency gains traction in the average household.
Just days ago, London’s Met police seized a record $250m (£180m) in cryptocurrency that was suspected of being criminal assets.
The latest crypto bust in the UK follows the seizure of £114m of crypto last month – where a woman was arrested in connection with that case is now being interviewed for the latest confiscation.