Authorities in Singapore have started cracking down on unlicensed Bitcoin sales, which is in line with the regulations passed in the country.
First to be Arrested Under New Anti-Money Laundering Law
Singapore authorities arrested and charged a 23-year-old woman for violating the country’s ban on unlicensed Bitcoin sales. The arrest and charges were made on Wednesday, according to a local media publication, Straits Time.
The country has placed a ban on unlicensed Bitcoin sales, ensuring that only approved and regulated entities are allowed to offer such services to people. According to the publication, the woman bought S$3,350 (about $2,400) in BTC back in February. The purchase was made with funds that the police believe was obtained from running an online scam. According to the Straight Times, the woman is a Singaporean national called Lange Vivian, adding that Lange was working with a loan shark by the name of “Boss.”
“The Singaporean allegedly provided a digital payment token service between Feb 27 and 28 this year. The police said that she allegedly received at least 13 fraudulent fund transfers this way. In total, she is accused of receiving around $3,000 in her bank account,”
This is the first time that Singapore is charging anyone since updating and enforcing its digital currency regulations. The Payment Services Act of 2019 dictates that “Digital Payment Token” (DPT) service providers must be licensed by the state before they can provide such services. The law was introduced in late January by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
According to the Singaporean police, Lange did not have a license, and she is not exempt from having one. Anybody that wishes to provide digital payment services needs to be licensed by the state before they can start offering such services. The authorities did not give details of the alleged crime Lange committed. However, they pointed out that Lange committed a crime on the instruction of an unknown person so she could earn a commission.
According to the new regulation, Lange will be dealt with a maximum penalty of S$125,000 (roughly $88,000) in fines. She will also be facing three years imprisonment for going against the Payment Services Act, the Singaporean Police department added.
However, her troubles did not end there. Lange is said to be facing extra but unrelated charges for working on behalf of a loan shark. The Straight Times revealed that the penalty for those charges is caning for men. However, Lange cannot be caned since she is a woman.
Straight Times added that for each charge of acting on behalf of a loan shark, an offender can be fined a maximum of $50,000, received up to five years of jail time, or receive up to six strokes of the cane.
Singapore is working to become a highly regulated cryptocurrency country. The authorities are putting strengthening regulatory efforts to ensure that only licensed individuals and entities can provide digital payment services to residents of the country. The new regulations are designed to protect the citizens from malicious actors in the digital payment sector.