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  • Tech Journalist

Hundreds of cyber criminals arrested and $130 million recovered in Interpol Anti-Fraud Operation

975 people have been arrested as part of an Interpol-led operation against cybercrime. The operation has been ongoing for several months and was supported by the UK and 29 other nations.



Thanks to the operation dubbed Operation HAECHI-III, More than 1,600 cases have been resolved and virtual assets totalling $129,975,440 (£107 million) have been seized. 2,800 bank and virtual asset accounts linked to online financial crime were also blocked in the process.


According to Interpol, investigations carried out as part of Operation HAECHI-III resulted in the publication of 95 Interpol alerts and the discovery of 156 new criminal trends.



The international police body went on to break down all the operations that were carried out and how each operation contributed to the total £100m + virtual asset seizure.


Among the arrested criminals are two scammers that were wanted by the Korean authorities for orchestrating a Ponzi scheme and embezzling £24 million from 2,000 Koreans. The two criminals were on Interpol’s Red Notice and have been brought into custody in Greece and Italy respectively.


In another interesting case, a cybercrime gang posing as Interpol officers was busted by law enforcement agencies in Austria and India. The gang was running a call centre where they scammed their victims into transferring a grand total of £131,491 through various channels including financial institutions, cryptocurrency exchanges and online gift cards. Four cryptocurrency wallets were confiscated and will serve as evidence.



Interpol's new Anti-Money Laundering Rapid Response Protocol (ARRP) was put to test during the operation. ARRP is a stop-order mechanism created to make it easier for law enforcement agencies around the world to work together in freezing assets acquired through fraud.


Thanks to the new protocol, police in Manchester and Dublin managed to jointly track and seize around £1 million stolen from businesses in Ireland through email scams.


Interpol notes that since January, ARRP has helped several countries recover over £99 million stolen from victims through cyber-enabled fraud.


Operation HAECHI-III is the third such operation conducted by Interpol with the first being launched in May 2021. This first operation dubbed HAECHI-I involved over 40 special forces from across the Asia Pacific region and led to the seizure of £68 million that had been stolen from victims by cybercriminals.


The first operation lasted till September 2021 when Ireland’s Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau blacklisted several domains that had been used to facilitate ransomware attack on the Irish Health Service Executive earlier that year.


In November 2021, the second operation, HAECHI-II was launched and resulted in the arrest of more than 1,000 criminals and the recovery of fraud money totalling £22 million.


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