Nearly two months ago, Dubai-based crypto exchange platform JPEX decided to “wind down operations” after Hong Kong regulators took notice of their activities.
At the time, JPEX’s Earn program was singled out by authorities as a major point of contention with the platform. Things took a wild turn from there, as the exchange practically halted operations overnight and restricted withdrawals by implementing a 99% withdrawal fee – thus disabling them without actually blocking them. Access to the platform and its mobile app were also swiftly blocked by the authorities.
“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.”
These events were followed by JPEX representatives abandoning their booth at a local crypto event that they were one of the main sponsors of.
The Platinum sponsor, JPEX, abandoned their booth at #Token2049 on the second day. 👀
On a side note, their logo looks quite similar to FTX. Is that a sign? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/KZw9o5vNgF
— J O Y (@joyxspacelatte) September 14, 2023
Soon after, the South China Morning Post reported that Hong Kong authorities were on the hunt for people tied to the exchange, who were believed to be at the heart of an alleged fraud worth $178 million.
However, the people arrested – while still under investigation – are doubted to be the ones behind the actual decision-making process. Some of the real authors of the alleged misconduct, however, have reportedly been found in neighboring Taiwan.
Four Arrested, Two Released
According to Taiwanese newspaper CNA, Chang Tung-Ying, the chief JPEX partner for the exchange’s Taiwan office, has been arrested and is currently in police custody. Also in custody is a local lecturer by the name of Shi Yu, who is closely affiliated with the exchange, according to Taiwanese police.
Two more individuals, whose surnames are Liu and Niu, were also arrested. Niu has since been released after giving a statement to the police. Liu has also been released, albeit in exchange for a (relatively small) bond worth $1,550.
A local singer and former brand ambassador named Nine Chen testified as a witness for Taiwanese prosecutors.
However, the singer has not yet been cleared of wrongdoing. Their role in the JPEX fiasco is still being investigated by Taiwanese authorities and could lead to them becoming a defendant in the case.
So far, over 10 people have registered complaints against the exchange in Taiwan, and several thousand more have done likewise in Hong Kong.