At a time where crypto regulators are burning the midnight oil in efforts to seal loopholes in the market, fraudsters are reported to be migrating to jurisdictions where rules governing the space are either conspicuously inconsistent or non-existent at all.
Thailand for instance, has for a long time been a ripe market for crypto assets, however, its crypto friendliness has also come to cost its citizens a dime. Barely two months since three Thai siblings were arraigned in court for alleged defrauding of a Finnish investor Bitcoins worth millions of dollars, another syndicate has been unraveled where a mining firm is accused of defrauding investors up to $1.35 million worth of Bitcoins in a trend that seems to be gaining momentum in the country.
In the former case, a finish investor dubbed Aamai Otava Saarima was allegedly defrauded Bitcoins worth 789 million baht (about USD 24million) by three Thai siblings after they compelled him into purchasing Expay Software Co. shares, investing in the DragonCoin token as well as acquiring 500 million shares in DNA(2002) Co. all with the aim of laundering his money. Seeing it as a genuine investment opportunity, Saamrimaa transferred Bitcoins worth the aforementioned amount to the trio’s electronic wallet. He was however in for a rude shock when they failed to honor their part of the bargain. Sensing danger, Saamrimaa opted to settle the matter with the Thai Crime Suppression Division.
Few months later, a Thai-based Bitcoin mining firm has been accused of defrauding its investors over 42 million baht an equivalent of $ 1.35 million. According to a report published by the Bangkok post, 30 crypto investors have already filed a complaint regarding the scam even though the police estimate the number of those affected to be at approximately 140.
Calls for stringent regulations
Owing to the recent development, calls for tightened regulations in the sector from both the public and government agencies have gained momentum. For instance, while addressing the regional Counter-terrorism Financing summit in Bangkok last year, Thailand deputy Prime Minister urged the need to increase both domestic and international measures to regulate the cryptocurrency space. Following the calls, the government, through its cabinet approved legislations to tax and regulate virtual currencies in an effort to counter money laundering and other crimes in the space. However, many feel a lot still needs to be done to make the crypto environment conducive for all stakeholders.