In a major crackdown on organized crime, Hong Kong authorities have apprehended a staggering 458 individuals involved in an elaborate money laundering operation.

The operation, believed to be orchestrated by a Triad syndicate, utilized cryptocurrency trades to launder profits stemming from a suspected 314 criminal activities.

The intensive operation spanned seventeen days and resulted in a series of arrests. During this time, 330 men and 128 women were taken into custody through 400 raids conducted across the city.

The arrested individuals comprised both Hongkongers and travelers from mainland China and other regions.

This initiative led law enforcement to seize more than 16 million yuan (approximately $2.2 million). However, the operation is suspected to have processed a whopping 470 million yuan (around $64.5 million).

Senior Superintendent Lui Che-ho highlighted that many of those apprehended had fallen victim to manipulation by organized crime groups.

He explained that these individuals were enticed into money laundering by promises of monetary rewards, often receiving hundreds to thousands of dollars each. In return, they were coerced into sharing bank account details for processing illegal funds.

Lui Che-ho detailed the mechanics of the laundering scheme, where illicit funds were withdrawn from bank accounts and then converted into cryptocurrencies, effectively obscuring the origins of the money.

The incident underscores the common practice of swapping traditional currency for digital assets to cover the tracks of illicit funds.

Although many countries have introduced stringent anti-money laundering (AML) regulations for cryptocurrency-related businesses, Hong Kong faces the challenge of nurturing its own crypto sector while combating money laundering.