The Hong Kong Police Force said it received 1,503 online investment scam complaints over the first 10 months of last year, with 69% related to cryptocurrencies, public broadcaster RTHK reported on Tuesday, citing a police press release. 

See related article: How crypto crime is costing Hong Kong billions?

Fast facts

  • Hong Kong lost a total of over HK$770 million (US$98 million) to online scams in the first 10 months of last year, which is more than double the amount recorded over the same period in 2021.  
  • Among the 1,503 online investment scams reported over the period, 1,035 were related to cryptocurrencies, which took up 69% of the total. A single victim lost as much as HK$15 million in a cryptocurrency scam, according to the police.
  • The Hong Kong police reminded residents that customer service agents at cryptocurrency exchanges do not ask clients to transfer money to private bank accounts. 
  • Hong Kong has been repositioning itself as a global digital asset hub by seeking to ease cryptocurrency investing restrictions on the retail sector and drafting regulations for licensed crypto exchanges.
  • In September 2022, Hong Kong Police launched an anti-scam application service, Scameter,  where users can search for information such as names and phone numbers related to suspicious calls and messages. 
  • In December 2022, policed arrested two top executives at a Hong-Kong-based defunct crypto exchange, AAX, on suspected involvement with a cryptocurrency fraud.

See related article: Hong Kong financial service providers gear up for retail crypto traders