- Philippine police have busted a huge human trafficking operation involving pig butchering
- Vulnerable people were forced to trick victims into handing over money in cryptocurrencies
- Pig butchering scams are on the increase globally
Philippine police have busted a huge human trafficking operation which lured victims into handing over cryptocurrencies as part of a mass pig butchering scam. 1,090 individuals were rescued after being trafficked from multiple nations around Asia and forced to operate online scams where they would pretend to form a romantic connection with someone, with the sole aim being to take their money. This ‘pig butchering’ process has already been highlighted by law enforcement agencies as a huge global concern, and this is evidence that the scale is indeed growing bigger.
Two Sets of Victims
Local media reported that the ringleaders of the operation enticed victims to the Philippines with job offers, free flights and accommodation, with the victims promptly accepting the offers. However, upon arrival, their passports were confiscated and they were made to work up to 18 hours per day, chatting to strangers online and trying to convince them of a romantic connection in order to have them send over money in cryptocurrency. Once the money was sent, the connection would be severed and all evidence scrubbed.
Officials in the Philippines reported that 1,090 individuals were rescued, with the majority coming from Asian countries including Vietnam, China, the Philippines, Indonesia, Nepal, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.
12 Suspects Arrested
Michelle Sabino, the spokesperson for the PNP anti-cybercrime group (ACG), revealed that at least 12 suspected ringleaders were arrested and subjected to an inquest proceeding for human trafficking before the Department of Justice in Manila. These individuals are believed to be the operators of Colorful and Leap Group Co., the fronts for the operation.
Last month the US Department of Justice announced the seizure of around $112 million worth of cryptocurrencies associated with pig butchering scams, just weeks after the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation launched a crypto scam tracker which heavily featured known pig butchering scams.