A one-year grace period for cryptocurrency exchanges operating in Hong Kong will remain in place despite recent scandals.

According to local news reports on Nov. 27, Julia Leung, CEO of Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission, stated, “Even if the grace period ends tomorrow, fraud will still occur, so there is no intention to modify the grace period and other measures for the time being.” 

According to new regulations introduced in June, crypto exchanges operating in Hong Kong must apply for a virtual asset service provider (VASP) license with the city’s Securities and Futures Commission by June 2024 or face deregistration. However, unregistered exchanges can operate in the city during the interim transition period. 

Several crypto scandals have rocked the special administrative region recently. In September, Hong Kong crypto exchange JPEX, which was unlicensed at the time, collapsed after allegations of a Ponzi scheme led to 66 arrests and an estimated 1.6 billion Hong Kong dollars ($205 million) in losses. 

On Nov. 25, Hounax, another unlicensed crypto exchange, reportedly scammed 131 residents out of 120 million HKD ($15.4 million) through yet another alleged Ponzi scheme. Chan Waikei, superintendent of the Hong Kong Police’s Commercial Crime Bureau, explained that scammers impersonated investment experts and solicited users with the promise of high returns. When users later tried to withdraw the funds, they could not do so. 

On Nov. 27, Cointelegraph reported that the Binance-linked HKVAEX exchange is still trying to apply for a license in Hong Kong. Earlier this month, BC Technology Group, owner of Hong Kong crypto exchange OSL, secured a $90 million investment from blockchain firm BGX

Related: Binance-linked HKVAEX still preparing to apply for license in Hong Kong