Chinese Police Arrest 1.1K People on Crypto-Related Money Laundering Charges

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Chinese police have arrested more than 1,000 people for money laundering, alleging they used cryptocurrency to help them evade the law.

This is the fifth round of nationwide crackdown on money laundering activities related to telecommunications fraud in China, dubbed “Operation Card Breach,” according to a statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Public Security on its Official WeChat count Wednesday.

The most recent cycle is for people who use cryptocurrencies to help with money laundering activities. Chinese police have arrested more than 1,100 people and eliminated 170 criminal organizations.

Related: China’s Qinghai Province ordered all crypto miners shut down

Telecommunications criminals tend to use fake or stolen SIM cards and compromised bank accounts to launder their money through the traditional banking system. This has become difficult since Chinese police began to tighten surveillance of commercial banks and black markets for SIM cards and bank accounts.

As fraudsters increasingly turn to cryptocurrencies to launder their money, Chinese police have cracked down on crypto-related money laundering crimes in 23 provinces and regions, including the city of Beijing as well as the provinces of Hebei and Shanxi.

China continues repression

The State Council called for a severe crackdown on telecommunications fraud in October 2020. Chinese police then launched Operation Card Breaking. He arrested more than 311,000 people and eliminated 15,000 criminal organizations.

Executives of two of the biggest crypto exchanges that provide services to Chinese investors were taken by Chinese police last year to help with undisclosed investigations. OKEx founder Star Xu and Huobi COO Jiawei Zhu were in custody for their over-the-counter services which were potentially involved in money laundering. Dong Zhao, one of China’s largest OTC traders, was also taken by Chinese police later last year.

Related: Chinese internet services censor keywords linked to Binance, Huobi and OKEx

The three associations of the financial sector have issued a warning to dissuade their member commercial banks and payment platforms from dealing with crypto companies.

UPDATE (June 9, 2021, 16:55 UTC): Updated with additional information.

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