A large-scale police operation took place in Istanbul, Turkey, targeting a Chinese gang’s crypto scam. The authorities discovered that criminals kidnapped 101 people and forced them to engage in fraudulent activities.
Scammers lure hostages through promising “crypto investment advisor” work
According to Demirören Haber Ajansı, Istanbul police cracked down on a fake “crypto investment consulting” agency, which allegedly hired 101 people to run the program. In fact, the group held employees as hostages in villas throughout the city, and the result was a large-scale criminal activity.
According to the investigation, 18 suspects of Chinese citizens were involved in the gang. They were computer engineers and programmers and promised the hostages to provide job opportunities in the scam.
The scam published an online advertisement that contained text such as “Hand over your virtual funds to us, we will win twice and return it to you”. The Blackmail Bureau team of the Public Security Bureau deployed 100 police officers to combat the gang.
In addition, the crypto scam planners took hostages from Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and China on tourist visas.
Gang operator owns nine villas in Istanbul
In addition, the authorities released all abductees and arrested 18 suspects. Six of them were transferred to the courts, while others were barred from leaving the country.
The Turkish police (General Security Administration) stated that the two Chinese hostages alerted the Chinese consulate about the situation, and then they reported the crypto scam to the Istanbul authorities.
The seizure carried out by the police included 112 computers, 677 SIM cards, 712 mobile phones, different legal tenders worth US$200,000, and 43 debit and credit cards. In addition, investigators said that the group owned nearly nine villas outside the city.
But the captives were paid for their work despite the conditions. Per Anadolu Ajansı, each worker’s monthly income is nearly $1,000. However, the hostages cannot spend any of this money because they cannot leave the villa. In fact, the kidnappers confiscated their passports.
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