Hong Kong watchdog to expand crypto regulations with ICOs crackdown

Hong Kong watchdog to expand crypto regulations with ICOs crackdown

The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) of Hong Kong has announced the launch of its latest initiative against scams and crypto frauds. It is aimed at alerting the public about arrangements that are suspected to be collective investment schemes (CIS), like digital tokens and ICOs.

In its public announcement today, SFC clarified that CIS offerings to the public in Hong Kong without the SFC’s authorization are prohibited. The commission further warned investors to be extra cautious if they still plan to go against the authorities and invest in an unauthorized investment scheme.

Suspected Unauthorised CIS Alert List to filter out crypto scams

Additionally, the SFC introduced its latest ‘Suspected Unauthorised CIS Alert List’ for Investment arrangements that possess specific CIS characteristics. Investment arrangements under this list may include overseas real estate or untraditional assets and investments, like digital tokens and initial coin offerings (ICO).

“Unauthorised investment arrangements are highly risky, and investors may lose all their investments…Investors are urged to check the new alert list and find out whether the arrangement is authorized by the SFC before investing.”, said Ms. Christina Choi, the SFC’s Executive Director of Investment Products.

ICO crypto scams

Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) is seen as a potential threat by Hong Kong’s regulatory Watchdog as it was infamously trending a couple of years ago because of its fraudulent nature. Instead of being the source for funding of crypto projects by the end of a bull run, it was misused by scammers to collect money from the investors for multi-million-dollar projects that never took off.

Hong Kong’s crypto scams are steering to the top. Earlier this month, the Hong Kong police arrested 19 suspects in the $1.4 Million crypto scam, involving approximately 170 victims globally. The police revealed that they had acquired 9 computers, 128 smartphones, cash worth HKD 1.4 million, HKD 50,000 in cryptocurrency, and a sports car in connection to the case. Additionally, in July, the Hong Kong police arrested four people for allegedly laundering $150 million through bank accounts in Singapore over 15 months.

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