Global investigators have seized nearly $130m in money and assets linked to cyber-enabled crimes, according to Interpol.
The international policing organization said its Haechi III operation ran for five months to November 23, targeting voice phishing, romance scams, sextortion, investment fraud and money laundering associated with illegal online gambling.
Supported by Interpol’s Financial Crime and Anti-Corruption Centre (IFCACC), police in 30 countries arrested 975 suspects, resolved 1600 cases and blocked 2800 bank and crypto accounts. They also issued 95 Interpol notices and “diffusion” alerts.
Interpol claimed Haechi III even uncovered some new crime trends, such as the promotion of investment fraud schemes via encrypted messaging services.
“As we look to the future, we recognize the importance for decisive and concerted law enforcement action across borders,” said Hyung Se Lee, head of an Interpol National Central Bureau (NCB) in Seoul.
“This year’s leg of Operation Haechi III speaks volumes of IFCACC’s dedicated coordination and the strong commitment of participating countries, all of which foretell of new law enforcement victories ahead.”
Among several noteworthy busts was the arrest of Korean fugitives in Greece and Italy wanted in connection with embezzling €28m ($29m) from 2000 victims in their home country.
Meanwhile, NCBs in Austria and India identified a network of online criminals impersonating Interpol officers who tricked victims into transferring them $159,000. A call center in India was raided and cryptocurrency wallets and other evidence seized, according to Interpol.
Previous operations of this sort also resulted in big wins for the policing organization.
Announced in June 2021, Haechi I saw the seizure of $83m in funds headed for the bank accounts of cyber-criminals and scammers, as well as the arrest of 585 individuals.
A few months later, Haechi II saw police arrest over 1000 suspects and seize nearly $27m in criminal funds associated with online fraud and money laundering.