More than 500 suspects were arrested in the Interpol-coordinated Operation ‘HAECHI-I’ and $83 million were seized which belonged to the victims of online financial crime. Over 40 law enforcement officers across the Asia Pacific region took part in the Interpol-coordinated Operation HAECHI-I and intercepted $83 million from being transferred to the accounts of their perpetrators.
Law enforcement agencies were specifically focused on five types of online financial crime: investment fraud, romance scams, money laundering associated with illegal online gambling, online sextortion, and voice phishing.
A total of 585 individuals were arrested, and more than 1,600 bank accounts belonging to perpetrators of the cyber-enabled financial crime were frozen. The stolen funds were blocked from getting into the scammers’ accounts following multiple joint operations and months of collecting intelligence on the attackers’ operations.
More than 1,400 investigations were opened during HAECHI-I’s six-month operational phase targeting cybercrime in the Asia Pacific region (i.e., Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Korea, Laos, The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam), with 892 cases having already been solved and the rest still being investigated.
“Online fraudsters often attempt to exploit the borderless nature of the Internet by targeting victims in other countries or transferring their illicit funds abroad. The results of Operation HAECHI-I demonstrate that online financial crime is fundamentally global and that only through close international cooperation can we effectively combat these criminals,” said Ilana de Wild, Interpol’s Director of Organized and Emerging Crime.
Last year, Interpol also advised victims of online financial scams to immediately take action to intercept stolen funds before their money reached the scammers’ bank accounts. In January 2021, Interpol warned all 194 member states of fraudsters targeting dating app users and trying to trick them into investing through fake trading apps.
“The key factors in intercepting illicit money transfers are speed and international cooperation. The faster victims notify law enforcement, the faster we can liaise with INTERPOL and law enforcement in the relevant countries to recover their funds and put these criminals behind bars,” Amur Chandra, Brigadier General of the Indonesian National Police and Secretary of Indonesia’s INTERPOL National Central Bureau, stated.
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