An Interpol operation has apprehended 3,500 cybercriminals and confiscated $300 million

An multinational law enforcement operation, known as ‘Operation HAECHI IV’, has resulted in the apprehension of 3,500 individuals involved in numerous less significant cybercrimes. Additionally, a total of $300 million in illegal profits has been confiscated.

The South Korean authorities spearheaded the HAECHI activities and collaborated with law enforcement agencies from 34 countries, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Hong Kong (China), and India.

The most recent operation, conducted from July to December 2023, focused on apprehending individuals involved in voice phishing, romance scams, online sextortion, investment fraud, money laundering related to illicit online gambling, business email compromise, and e-commerce fraud.

Furthermore, Interpol’s financial intelligence apparatus, known as I-GRIP, identified and immobilized a total of 82,112 bank accounts across 34 different countries that were associated with a range of cybercrimes and fraudulent activities.

The seized sums consist of $199 million in physical currency and $101 million in the form of 367 digital/virtual assets, including NFTs (non-fungible tokens) associated with cybercrime.

“The confiscation of USD 300 million signifies an astonishing amount and vividly demonstrates the motivation behind the current rapid expansion of transnational organized crime,” declared Stephen Kavanagh, an official from Interpol.

“The extensive accumulation of illicit wealth poses a significant risk to global security and undermines the economic stability of nations across the globe.”

An arrest of significant importance took place during this operation, involving the apprehension of an internet gambling offender in Manila. The Korean authorities had been actively pursuing this individual for a period exceeding two years.

An emerging tendency observed in the HAECHI arrests pertains to digital investment frauds and NFT investment platforms that engage in a deceptive practice known as “rug pulling.” This involves swiftly absconding with all invested funds, erasing official websites and social media accounts, and vanishing without a trace.