Operation HAECHI III

Recently, there have been almost 1000 arrests made as a result of a police operation conducted by INTERPOL in an attempt to combat online fraud. As a result of this operation, Interpol recovered virtual assets worth USD 129,975,440.

Between June 28 and November 23, 2022, this operation was carried out by Interpol and they codenamed this operation “HAECHI III.” Investigators from around the world spent more than five months working together to carry out this essential HAECHI III operation.

Over 975 individuals have been arrested as a result of this operation (HAECHI III), and more than 1,600 cases have been closed.

Aside from the two escapees, South Korea has sought them for their alleged involvement in the Ponzi scheme that allegedly robbed 2,000 people of €28 million over the course of several years.

Online financial crime proceeds were linked to almost 2800 bank and virtual asset accounts that were blocked by law enforcement authorities.

Types of Cybercrimes Involved

This amount was generated by a variety of cybercrimes, including the following:-

  • Romance scams
  • Voice phishing
  • Sextortion
  • Investment fraud
  • Money laundering
  • Illegal online gambling

During the course of Operation HAECHI III investigations, the following were published and detected:-

  • 95 INTERPOL Notices and diffusions
  • 16 new crime trends

Through its INTERPOL National Central Bureaus (NCBs) network, IFCACC (INTERPOL’s Financial Crime and Anti-Corruption Centre) coordinated the operation HAECHI III, which involved support from 30 countries.

Apart from this, it has been observed by INTERPOL that scammers are increasingly using encrypted messaging apps to exchange information with people who are victims of investment scams.

Highlights of HAECHI III

There are two highlights of operation HAECHI III that should not be missed:-

  • It has been confirmed that two Korean nationals have been arrested in Italy and Greece for stealing over $29,100,000 from 2,000 Korean victims.
  • Members of a cybercrime group that is based in India who impersonated INTERPOL officers have been arrested. The members of this group tricked their victims by calling them to extort a hefty amount in cryptocurrency which is around $159,000.

HAECHI III Participating Countries

Below we have compiled a list of all the countries that have participated in HAECHI III operation:-

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Brunei
  • Cambodia
  • Cote d’Ivoire
  • France
  • Ghana
  • Hong Kong (China)
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Ireland
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Laos
  • Malaysia
  • Maldives
  • Nigeria
  • Philippines
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • Singapore
  • Slovenia
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Thailand
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

It has been several months since INTERPOL’s ARRP (Anti-Money Laundering Rapid Response Protocol) global stop-payment mechanism was made available to investigators as part of Operation HAECHI III. 

Now, the countries can work together through the ARRP to submit and handle requests for the restraint of criminal proceeds and to facilitate the process of submitting such requests.

It is estimated that the ARRP has contributed to the recovery of more than $120 million in criminal proceeds since January 2022 from cybercrimes that have taken place in member countries.

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BALAJI is an Ex-Security Researcher (Threat Research Labs) at Comodo Cybersecurity. Editor-in-Chief & Co-Founder - Cyber Security News & GBHackers On Security.

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