The circle has been tightening around cryptocurrencies in China recently with regulatory proclamations coming thick and fast and now the authorities have moved in on the criminal groups using the untraceable digicoins to hide their proceeds
Police in China have hauled in more than 1,100 suspects thought to have been involved in using cryptocurrencies to launder their criminal earnings.
The arrests came as authorities in China stepped up their crackdown on cryptocurrency trading. Last month, three industry bodies banned crypto-related financial and payment services, and the State Council, China’s cabinet, vowed to clamp down on bitcoin mining and trading.
The public security ministry said that by Wednesday afternoon police had busted more than 170 criminal groups involved in laundering illegal proceeds from telephone and internet scams.
The money launderers charged their criminal clients a commission of 1.5% to 5% to convert illegal proceeds into virtual currencies via crypto exchanges, the ministry said via its official Wechat account.
China’s Payment and Clearing Association said on Wednesday that the number of crimes involving the use of virtual currencies is on the rise.
Because cryptocurrencies are anonymous, convenient and global in nature, “they have increasingly become an important channel for cross-border money laundering,” the association said in a statement.
Cryptocurrencies have already become a popular means of payment in illegal gambling activities. Nearly 13% of gambling sites support the use of virtual currencies, and blockchain technology has made it more difficult for authorities to track the money, according to the association.
- Reporting by Reuters