277 Arrested In The Philippines After A Police Raid ‘Grapefruit Services’ Targeting Crypto Scammers
According to an Inquirer.net report released on September 15th, 2019 Philippine police recently conducted a raid targeting an office said to be running a crypto scam. The scam in question is said to target crypto investors in Mainland China.
The Philippine news outlet went on to state that agents from the National Police Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group, the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission and those from the Bureau of Immigration were involved in the raid on the Grapefruit Services Inc., offices which are located in Pasig City. The raid occurred on Sept. 11.
It is believed that the raid was conducted after the authorities had received a tip from someone in the Chinese Embassy. Authorities believed that the company had already managed to defraud more than a thousand Chinese investors by the time of the raid.
Jaime Morente, the Immigration Commissioner stated that the government in China had canceled all employee passports. This means that the employees in question were now illegal workers in the country. The 277 employees arrested during the raid were all Chinese nationals.
Exceptional Economic Zones
An informant who did not want to be named told the Philippine news outlet that Grapefruit, the company in question was a registered service provider. The source added that the company was a subsidiary of Golden Millennial Quickpay Inc. Ltd. The parent company was operating using a special license provided by CEZA (the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority).
CEZA is a corporation owned by the Philippine government. Its duties include overseeing Freeport and the Cagayan Special Economic Zone. This is a specialized economic region located in the northern parts of the country.
It is also referred to as the Cagayan Freeport. It is an area that is aimed at attracting both local and foreign investments. Cryptocurrency companies were allowed to start operating in this region in April 2018 by the Philippine government.
According to Inquirer.net, Grapevine was raided because its operations were outside the zone designated by the government. This means that its operations had run afoul of the local laws as well as the national financial regulations put in place by the government.