Singapore investors have suffered the most in fraudulent investment schemes over the past three years. In particular, they have become the biggest victims of Chinese-origin ‘pig-butchering’ cryptocurrency scams.
Investors have suffered a loss of 1909 million Singapore dollars from such schemes last year. This figure is more than five times the $369 million in 2019. According to a report in ‘The Sunday Times’, perpetrators of such frauds spend months building a relationship with investors before urging them to invest in such schemes.
Pig butchering scam
The report said that the ‘pig butchering’ scam has come to the fore in Singapore recently. It uses the Chinese word ‘sha zhu pan’ which means fattening a pig before slaughter. It was coined by the criminals themselves to describe their scam.
Such scams started in China in 2016
Fraudsters spend months building closeness with the target i.e. investors before soliciting them to invest in bogus investment schemes. The Singapore daily, citing news reports, said such scams began in China in 2016. At that time scammers made victims to bet on fake gambling websites.
The Chinese government cracked down on illegal betting in 2018. But the fraudsters again targeted Chinese-speaking migrants in Southeast Asia. As the demographics expanded in Europe and the US, scam tactics evolved along with the increasing popularity of cryptocurrency investments.