Hong Kong authorities join forces to monitor “problematic” Virtual Asset Trading Platforms

Rick Steves

“We have always valued our working relationship with the Police, and we look forward to our even closer collaboration in deploying our respective expertise and resources in combatting problematic VATPs and protect the interest of investors.”

The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) and the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) have joined forces to create a specialized working group aimed at bolstering the monitoring and investigation of unlawful activities related to Virtual Asset Trading Platforms (VATPs). This strategic partnership was solidified in a high-level meeting between the two organizations on September 28, 2023.

The working group is comprised of a mix of experts from various departments. From the police side, representatives hail from the Commercial Crime Bureau, the Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau, and the Financial Intelligence and Investigations Bureau. The SFC has delegated members from its Enforcement Division and Intermediaries Division to the group.

The working group has three core objectives:

  • Facilitate the sharing of information concerning suspicious activities and regulatory breaches within VATPs.
  • Implement a structured mechanism to evaluate the risk profiles of these platforms.
  • Improve coordination and expedite collaboration in relevant investigations.

Combatting problematic VATPs to protect the interest of investors

Assistant Commissioner of Police (Crime), Ms Eve Chung, articulated the significance of the partnership: “The implementation of the new platform between the Police and the SFC is instrumental to fast-tracking vital intelligence exchange and joint collaboration in responses to challenges arising from VATPs, so as to better protect the general public of Hong Kong.”

Similarly, Christopher Wilson, the SFC’s Executive Director of Enforcement, praised the initiative: “We have always valued our working relationship with the Police, and we look forward to our even closer collaboration in deploying our respective expertise and resources in combatting problematic VATPs and protect the interest of investors.”

This cooperative effort comes at a crucial time when virtual asset trading is under heightened scrutiny for its potential risks and susceptibility to fraud and other illicit activities. By pooling resources and knowledge, the SFC and HKPF aim to create a safer, more regulated environment for virtual asset trading, not only safeguarding investors but also buttressing the integrity of Hong Kong’s financial market.

The formation of this working group could serve as a template for other jurisdictions grappling with the regulatory complexities of rapidly evolving digital asset markets. The financial world will be watching closely to see how effective this working group is in curbing illegal activities related to virtual assets.

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