Updated: Sep 17, 2019
The operation, which was led by Bureau of Immigration agents, was conducted on Grapefruit Services Inc. on the 37th floor of One Corporate Center in Ortigas Center, Pasig City last 11 Sept 2019, 277 chinese nationals with CEZA licensed were "caught in the act" and are now detained.
Grapefruit is an authorized service provider of Golden Millennial Quickpay Inc. Ltd., an offshore cryptocurrency company licensed by the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (Ceza), according to the source, whose headquarters happen to by in Ayala Avenue Makati City.
Grapefruit is registered as a CEZA-locator but is operating in Metro Manila, outside the ecozone’s jurisdiction. As indicated by the press sources, this has been a trend in such operations in recent months. I'm wondering how come the SRO nor the CEZA people have yet to comment on this issue. UPDATE 17September CEZA temporarily suspends the licenses (view source news here)
Meanwhile, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said the raid was prompted by a tip from the Chinese Embassy on the investment scam, which has defrauded more than a thousand Chinese nationals. Initially, Morente ordered the arrest of only four Chinese nationals but authorities caught 273 other suspects “in the act of conducting illegal online operations.”
My question is WHAT exactly is this act?
Its registration documents from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) expressly prohibit Grapefruit from undertaking activities as a securities broker or dealer, or as an investment adviser or investment company. Grapefruit is also barred from operating on fiat money or virtual currency exchange. So through this, we can find fault and a big misconduct from Grapefruit but still begs the question of CEZA's assistance as a license provider given that this is the business of Grapefruit to begin with.
As a result, the Chinese government canceled the passports of the arrested employees, making them illegal workers in the Philippines. The detained workers will be deported.
No date announced and no list of immigrants were provided to the public's consumption which means they can just go back to work as soon as the issue dies like nothing happened.
Ceza’s strong efforts to push the Philippines as the Silicon Valley of Asia has been attracting a lot of attention, as shown by the holding of a series of blockchain summits with the authority’s involvement. Really? Since when?
Lambino said CEZA would authorize principal licensees to operate in offices in Metro Manila but would have to course all trading transactions through LR Data, a cyberpark in Santa Ana, Cagayan which has an office in Ayala Avenue, Makati City. My question is since regulations take so long and why there hasn't been much progress on the construction of the "smart city", why are they accepting businesses already and turn radio silent when their licensed companies expecting protection from them are getting attacked by Bureau of Immigration. If CEZA can only grant licensing in the form of office spaces, WHAT IS THEIR PURPOSE IF THEY AREN'T PROTECTING THE COMPANIES LICENSED TO THEM? I Think if this continues, we will run out of foreign investors and as result can lower international engagement that will make the development of CEZA even slower. I mean, have they even fixed the internet issue because the last time I was there I had 3 bars MAXIMUM on my mobile. UPDATE 17September: Good action on their part with the news update here
CEZA stood to earn at least P3.9 billion from an initial batch of 25 licensees, Lambino said. He also cited investment commitments of $1 million each, adding that fintech operations in CEZA would also create at least 20,000 jobs. The Philippine government began allowing cryptocurrency firms to operate there in April 2018. It shows that we are open to the idea but when it comes to full circle I can say there's a lot of question marks about how CEZA is handling things.
Here are the other companies provided by CEZA in case the Bureau of Immigration is looking into investigating every company to ensure its meeting the standards upheld.
Xin Peng Group, Changwei International Co., Ltd., State Trust Union Capital Holdings, Ultra Precise Investments Ltd., Hachiman Technology Sdn. Bhd., MX Exchange Ventures, Hybrid Block, IPE Global Pte. Ltd., Superieur Tech. Pte. Ltd., Coin Bundle, Northern Orient Resources, Inc.;
Asia Premier International Ltd., Hong Kong Yuen Shing Hong Ltd., Mobile Pole Position Pte. Ltd., Madison Blockchain Strategy Investment Company Ltd., GMQ, Liannet, Asia Pacific Blockchain Association, Pacificnet Strategic Investments Ltd., Super Angels Ventures Ltd., AXN Holdings Ltd., Paradigm Technologies Unlimited Solutions Corp., Stepwyze LLC.
As of July 2018, The Hanwha Group of South Korea, a blockchain developer, also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Ceza.
Last year, I made sure to attend the Investment Summit to learn more about the project
HERE'S THE HIGHLIGHTS VIDEO
I appeal to your journalistic efforts to cite your sources, as I have. Thank you.