Authorities in Malaysia have arrested 14 Chinese citizens because of their alleged involvement in a Bitcoin-related scam, which reportedly targeted unsuspecting investors in their home country.
Dzulkhairi Mukhatar, the assistant commander in Malaysia, confirmed that the men were taken into police custody on April 18, 2020, after two months of extensive investigations and surveillance.
The suspects are between the ages of 20 and 30. Three of the men arrested are not carrying valid travel documents, the officer revealed.
The group had reportedly been impersonating rich investors and were going after people through widely-used Chinese messaging apps, including WeChat and QQ.
Assistant Commander Mukhatar said that the suspects had been giving fake testimonies to persuade the victims into investing into fraudulent Bitcoin (BTC) schemes.
The 14 Chinese men arrested are now facing charges under the country’s Penal Code for cheating, which might require that the alleged offenders spend time in jail. They could be serving up to ten years behind bars.
They might also get caned (physical punishment) and have to pay fines. The alleged offenders could be charged under the Immigration Act, which may require that they pay as much as $2,300 in fines, and spend up to 5 years in jail, and receive up to six strokes of whipping.
Officials are currently investigating exactly how much money has been lost due to the cryptocurrency scam and the number of victims that were affected or targeted.
In November of last year, police officials in Malaysia had reportedly taken four men and one woman into custody for allegedly drilling a hole in a concrete wall that was connecting two separate buildings, in order to steal several Bitcoin mining machines.
There were 85 machines in total, and were worth around $10,300 each. Officials said that the team was not interested in selling the mining equipment. They wanted to operate it themselves to earn profits from crypto mining.