Hong Kong’s police force continues to investigate HKCex after a customer lodged a report of fraudulent activity in May claiming he was unable to withdraw 16.5 BTC from the cryptocurrency exchange.
The customer, Dominic Rivers, told CoinDesk he then made a statement to the Hong Kong police’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID), which investigates serious crimes, on 3rd June, explaining:
“I hope [the police] track these guys down. I hope an example is made of them and I hope I get my money back.”
According to the case’s investigating officer, however, progress has been slow. The officer said he had written to MG Foreign Exchange Limited, which was listed as the owner of HKCex on its website, but has received no reply.
The news comes amid continued uncertainty regarding the Hong Kong-based exchange, which had previously boasted upwards of $20m in funding among a number of increasingly troubling claims.
The officer told CoinDesk he would contact the firm again, but added that no other police reports on the matter had been lodged.
Further, the officer indicated that following up on the report has posed its own issues:
“We are still working on the case, but in fact, I can honestly tell you we have encountered difficulties […] we can’t confirm where the bitcoin is.”
He had been attracted to HKCex by the arbitrage opportunity provided with its high BTC prices – buying bitcoin on Bitfinex to sell them on HKCex. Like other customers, his troubles started when he attempted to withdraw his funds.
His withdrawal was delayed, and the exchange requested a notarised copy of his passport, mirroring requests made of other customers.
Searching for answers
In Rivers’ case, he was away from Hong Kong when he received the request from HKCex. He then asked his wife to get a copy of his passport notarised and drop it off at the HKCex address listed on its website.
When she arrived at the address, however, she couldn’t find the exchange’s office.
“My wife took it along to the address where I was supposed to post it, but there was nothing there. There is a 7-11, a kindergarten and some apartments. None of them had anything to identify them as HKCex,” he said.
Rivers, who is a pilot and former server engineer, is now convinced that HKCex was an “elaborate hoax” designed to dupe traders like him who performed some cursory checks on the exchange before trading. He added:
“It didn’t seem like a one-man band. There was a lot of background information about it. They did quite a lot of homework, a lot of preparation work.”