Romance Scam Good News in the War Against Pig Slaughter Scams

Pig Slaughter and similar scams

Pharaoh

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Good News in the War Against Pig Slaughter Scams

Everyone knows the bad news. There are a thousand or more variations, but basically it comes down to one thing. Someone meets a friend online, who always promises quick and large returns. The victim gets lured into trading, gambling, or whatever else works to move money to some person or company the friend recommends as a sure way.

On the other side of this particularly evil coin, some of those friends luring victims to their fiscal doom are happy participants in scams, but a surprisingly large percentage of them were lured to what looked like a legitimate job, only to find themselves enslaved (yes, literally being used as slaves) and forced to scam. Torture with electricity is one of the lesser methods of forcing cooperation. I would sleep better if I didn't know about what can happen to people who keep refusing to help the scammers if electric shocks are not enough to get them to cooperate.

Nearly all of those running these scams aren't stupid. Where possible, they try to make the initial financial transactions very hard to trace and they quickly launder any money they get their hands on.

To make it worse, most of these crime are launched across international borders. The largest known concentrations of them are in Myanmar and Cambodia, but this happens in many other places too. The criminals have typically bribed the local authorities (or even higher authorities), so they often are tipped off if a police raid is scheduled.

Are you depressed yet? Do you think victims should just learn to live with their losses and not waste any time reporting it since nothing will ever happen to the scammers. If you think this, you are WRONG.

There is some very good news regarding this problem. Despite all the difficulties hunting these people down, enough victims have provided enough information to law enforcement and regulators that more and bigger actions are being taken.

Every report gives the authorities a little bit more information and brings the scamming group a little closer to a surprise visit by a multinational team.

This thread is for reports of police and regulatory actions against Pig Slaughter style scammers. If you have already been scammed by one of these groups, open a PROBLEM thread in the Financial Companies Comparsions and Discussions folder. I also have instructions about where to file reports in my book about fighting back against scammers on the Where to Complain about Pig Slaughter Type Romance Scams page.

If you do add a reply to this thread with an article about a Pig Slaughter group getting busted, keep copyrights in mind. A summary and a few select quotes is fine as long as you also include a link back to the article. A direct quote of a news article is a copyright violation. Regulator and police pages are generally fine with copying all the text, but you should still include a link back to the original.

I'd like to thank @The Punisher for all his hard work against these scams and for suggesting a thread for reporting successes.
 
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Remember that I said that these could be anywhere. Our first candidate is a bust by the Singapore police, for approximately

1 BILLION in cash and assets seized

The Police have arrested ten persons, aged between 31 and 44, for their suspected involvement in offences of forgery and/or, money laundering, and resistance to lawful apprehension. Twelve other persons are assisting with investigations and eight other persons are currently wanted by the Police. These persons are believed to have connections amongst themselves. All the persons involved are neither Singapore Citizens nor Permanent Residents.

The Police received information of possible illicit activities including the use of suspected forged documents that were used to substantiate the source of funds in Singapore bank accounts. Through extensive investigations and follow-up from intelligence - including the analysis of Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) - the Police identified a group of foreign nationals suspected to be involved in laundering the proceeds of crime from their overseas organised crime activities including scams and online gambling.

On 15 August 2023, more than 400 officers from the Commercial Affairs Department, the Criminal Investigation Department, Special Operations Command and the Police Intelligence Department conducted simultaneous raids at multiple locations island-wide, including residences such as Good Class Bungalows (GCB) and condominiums, leading to the arrest of the ten persons.

Prohibition of disposal orders were issued against 94 properties and 50 vehicles, with a total estimated value of more than S$815 million, as well as multiple ornaments and bottles of liquor and wine. The Police also seized more than 35 related bank accounts with a total estimated balance of more than S$110 million for investigations and to prevent dissipation of suspected criminal proceeds. Cash, including foreign currencies, amounting to more than S$23 million, more than 250 luxury bags and watches, more than 120 electronic devices such as computers and mobile phones, more than 270 pieces of jewelleries, two gold bars, and 11 documents with information on virtual assets.


Source: https://www.police.gov.sg/Media-Room/News/20230816_10_Foreign_Nationals_Offences_Forgery_Money_Launder_Est_1_Bil_Assets

Most of the leaders of the gang were Chinese, yet also had foreign passports. Chinese aquiring another nationality are legally required to report that to the Chinese government so their Chinese nationality can be cancelled. China is one of a number of countries that forbids dual citizenship.

Singapore police are continuing to investigate and hope to seize even more assets. One can only hope that the criminals will not only get long prison sentences, but also will get to experience Singapore's most famous punishment for criminals, caning.
 
Next up, let's look at some cross-border cooperation. This time it was:

Police in China, Myanmar bust 11 scam dens

That's right. China and Myanmar teamed up and shut down 11 of these fraud centers inside of Myanmar.

"A total of 269 suspects were detained, including 186 Chinese nationals, 66 Myanmar nationals, 15 Vietnamese nationals and two Malaysian nationals.

Of the detained suspects, 21 are considered backbone members or behind-the-scenes financial sponsors, and 13 are fugitives wanted by Chinese police, including one who has been on the run for 19 years, according to the ministry
."

I'm not sure if the Singapore case in the previous post involved enslaved workers, but this one in Myanmar is reported to involve Chinese citizens being trapped abroad. Just as the offers of massive profits trading were fake, the chance to get a good paying job in a nearby country also proved to be fake.

Source: https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202309/06/WS64f7c500a310d2dce4bb41c0.html

and https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3233506/police-china-and-myanmar-detain-269-cyber-scam-crackdown
 
How about some more cross-border cooperation?

Laos Hands Over 164 Suspects to Chinese Police

"On July 19, Lao police carried out an operation in Savannakhet, resulting in the capture of 15 suspects. Subsequently, with the assistance of the Chinese police working group, Lao police carried out 10 operations in various regions. As a result, they detained 164 suspects, including nine key members of the fraud groups and 23 fugitives, and seized tools used for their activities."

This was part of an operation trigger by reports to the Chinese police of a number of scams coming from locations in Laos involving amounts greater that 1 million CNY (about 140,000 USD). Some were stadard pig slaughtering romance scams, some pretended to be investment gurus. All promised too high of returns for a cautious person to believe.

Source: https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202309/11/WS64ff2ebda310d2dce4bb526c.html
 
And another country joins the party:

Indonesian police say they've arrested 88 Chinese citizens for involvement in a cross-border telephone and online romance scam syndicate after receiving a tip from Chinese security ministry

Most of their targets were other Chinese people who were lured in by the scammers using the “human emotion” of the victims against them.

I strongly recommend reading this whole article. It gives some details on how big the problem is and mentions a 2017 deportation of 419 people from Mainland China and Taiwan to face charges for phone fraud.

Source: https://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/indonesia-arrests-88-chinese-nationals-online-romance-scams-102672677
 
$1 Billion? How about $2 Billion Recovered From Scammers?

Scroll up to Post 2. The investigation has continued. The current amount of money and other assets seized has reached about 2 Billion US Dollars.

Singapore is less than pleased about this, since it wants to be considered a safe, crime-free location for the rich to keep their money. At least one major bank is closing some accounts for clients with passports from Cambodia, Cyprus, Turkey and Vanuatu. People with passports from any country with a reputation for quick and easy "investment" citizenship applications are likely to face much greater scrutiny opening bank accounts in Singapore.

The investigation is continuing. More assets are likely to be seized.

Source: https://time.com/6319939/singapore-money-laundering-probe-two-billion-dollars/
 
In remote areas of Myanmar, the police would have trouble grabbing scammers. Even the army would have trouble grabbing scammers. But what about local citizens or scammers farther down the food chain? How to encourage them to give up the guys in charge? How about this?

China Offers 100,000 to 500,000 Yuan Reward for Pair of Scam Ring Leaders

That's a decent sized reward in most places (about US$13,700 to $71,200), but would be a LOT of money in Myanmar, where the pair were last seen.

Although the 2 wanted men may have other passports (and have positions in the local government in Myanmar), they still hold Chinese IDs, which means they can be deported to China.

Anyone care to bet how long until one or both are singing Renegade by Styx?

The jig is up, the news is out
They finally found me
The renegade who had it made
Retrieved for a bounty


Source: https://myanmar-now.org/en/news/china-issues-reward-for-capture-of-cybercrime-ringleaders-with-alleged-ties-to-wa-army/
 
BaFin Steps Up Against Online Financial Crimes

Germany's financial watchdog, BaFin, is enhancing its efforts to combat illegal online financial activities. This move aims to protect investors from unauthorized financial services and products often advertised online under false pretenses.

Key Points:

  • BaFin urges investors to thoroughly research providers before engaging in online financial activities, using its resources like warnings and a database of authorized companies.
  • BaFin's jurisdiction includes banking, investment, insurance, payment services, and e-money operations. All entities in these sectors in Germany must have BaFin authorization.
  • The organization targets the illegal unregulated capital market, conducting investigations and taking legal action when necessary.
  • BaFin's strategy involves assessing if activities require authorization, ordering the cessation of unauthorized operations, and imposing fines.
  • 2022 saw a record number of formal measures by BaFin against illegal transactions.
  • BaFin differentiates between regulated, illegal unregulated, and grey capital markets.
  • Public tips often initiate investigations, and BaFin uses various sources for information gathering.
  • The focus also includes combating fraudulent online brokers and unauthorized bitcoin ATMs.
  • BaFin's actions, like freezing accounts and seizing assets, have effectively prevented significant financial losses.
BaFin's proactive measures are crucial in safeguarding the integrity of Germany's financial markets and protecting investors from online financial crimes.
 
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