JPEX crypto exchange has found itself in a hot soup after the authorities asked local telecom providers to block online access to the platform. According to the local newspaper, South China Morning Post, the local police have detained at least 11 individuals since launching an enforcement action, raiding dozens of locations in the city and seizing certain assets related to the case.
Further, the Hong Kong police officers have searched various physical crypto stores, including Branches of over-the-counter (OTC) stores Coingaroo and Coiner, concerning a $166 million scandal between JPEX and investors. Some of those who have been arrested include social media influencers who promoted the JPEX exchange and JPEX employees, police said.
The Commercial Crime Investigation Bureau unit of the Hong Kong Police has taken further action on JPEX by instructing telecom operators SmarTone, CSL mobile, and Three, among others, to block user access to its website and mobile app.
The Hong Kong Market Regulator Vs. JPEX
Early this month, JPEX found itself in the jaws of Hong Kong’s market regulator, the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), as it called out the crypto company for advertising itself as a licensed firm despite not being authorized.
However, in a statement released on Wednesday, JPEX noted that Hong Kong’s SFC has “unreasonably blocked our mobile application and official website.” It further added:
‘’Since September 13, 2023, the SFC has suddenly made a series of accusations against our platform’s operating model and promotional methods, which we vehemently resent as they were made without investigation or review.’’
The crypto firm has, however, urged its users to use a virtual private network service to gain access since the platform has been blocked in Hong Kong. The platform noted,
‘’Here, we strongly reiterate that, even in the face of such oppression and unfair treatment, our platform will continue to operate as usual. Users can log into our mobile application or operate on our web version using VPN applications like Surfshark.”
The intensified police enforcement on the crypto exchange comes after the SFC raised red flags that the trading platform with the help of crypto influencers has “made false or misleading statements on social media,” suggesting JPEX had applied for a virtual asset trading license in Hong Kong. Police Senior Superintendent Kung Hing-fun said the investors were mostly inexperienced and had fallen for promises of high yields and low risks.
Elizabeth Wong, head of the SFC’s fintech unit, said it was investigating whether JPEX had violated the anti-money laundering ordinance and that it had referred the case to the police and would assist in their investigation.
Some of the 2,086 victims who filed complaints claimed they were unable to withdraw their digital assets from the platform after investing in financial products that were touted to yield over 20% in returns annually, the police stated at a briefing on Tuesday.
JPEX’s DAO Proposal
With the evolving events around JPEX, the company stated on Wednesday that it plans to launch a “DAO Stakeholders Dividend Plan.” Under the plan, JPEX clients can convert their assets on the platform to DAO stakeholder dividends at a 1:1 ratio. The exchange said,
“We will distribute 49% of the DAO Stakeholder dividends, with a total value of approximately 400,000,000 USDT for subscription and conversion.’’
Additionally, it plans to offer repurchase options one year and two years later. Further, the new users will get twice the payout if they subscribe to such DAO stakeholder dividends.