The securities regulator and local stock exchange have threatened legal action against any entity directly or indirectly raising money from the public for crypto-based schemes without the proper authorisation.
Speaking to The Post on November 17, Securities and Exchange Regulator of Cambodia (SERC) director-general Sou Socheat, citing a statement issued by his agency a day earlier, said member-recruitment ads and those for investment opportunities that claim unusually high returns continue to be prevalent across Telegram, Facebook and other social media apps.
“The SERC has been monitoring and investigating these scammers, looking into information on a variety of money transfers, and is cooperating with the relevant authorities to take legal action,” he said, noting that inquiries are often impeded by the increasingly advanced technologies used in these operations.
The statement highlighted that any effort to raise money through an investment vehicle involving securities requires the prior authorisation of the SERC.
A security is an instrument that represents financial value and is typically fungible, negotiable and tradable. Common examples include stocks, bonds, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETF) and derivatives.
Listing Telegree, EBC and Enarita as examples, the statement noted that many investment scams use the Ponzi scheme, generating returns for earlier entrants with money taken from newcomers until the number of potential clients is exhausted and active investors lose their money.
“This type of investment scheme collapses in a short period of time. Although some depositors made returns, the subsequent ones suffer absolute losses,” the SERC said.
Meanwhile, on November 15, the Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX) denied affiliation with the Telegram group “CSX Khmer”.
“Customers and the general public should be wary of [suspicious] transactions and activities to avoid falling into scams, or investing or trading unsafe financial instruments and possibly losing assets,” the CSX said.
And in a November 12 joint statement, three top finance industry bodies denied any affiliation with Payeer and other crypto-related platforms, noting that some may use the names of their member institutions, and underlining their lack of official recognition in Cambodia.
These were the Association of Banks in Cambodia (ABC), the Cambodia Microfinance Association (CMA), and the Cambodian Association of Finance and Technology (CAFT).
The statement said that these some of these platforms have purported to be in a “collaboration with some banks and financial institutions [on] payments, deposits and withdrawals, investing and trading in Bitcoin, Ethereum and crypto wallets”.
“The public should be careful when it comes to all such transactions and activities to avoid falling into deception, investment, or trading in unsafe financial instruments, which may lead to losses or damage,” the associations said.