The businessman is apparently still a fugitive as no further details have been revealed about his whereabouts or that of the missing fund.

According to local reports, a businessman located in Australia allegedly disappeared after receiving an accidental deposit from a crypto trading platform in late January.

The Supreme Court of Victoria issued an order freezing the assets as efforts to contact the man were unsuccessful.

Typing Error Costs Crypto Exchange Hundreds of Thousands

A recent report from ABC News Australia reported on the disappearance of a Mildura resident who allegedly pocketed more than half a million dollars due to a costly typing error. According to the report, Kow Seng Chai, 37, a Malaysian-born resident of Mildura, deposited A$99,500 on crypto trading platform Rhino Trading Pty Ltd, trading under the name OTCPro.

The deposit, valued at around $62,000, was made on January 25 through an account created by Chai for his Sydney-based company Lotte Enterprise Pty Ltd. When the exchange credited the balance to Chai’s account, it accidentally added an extra zero, crediting AU$995,000 (approximately $621,000) instead of the correct AU$99,500.

Court documents, as the report indicates, show that the Lotte Enterprise account had a balance of around 1.36 million Australian dollars ($890,000) after the error. The balance consisted of A$464,200 that Chai previously deposited and A$895,500 received in error, worth approximately $586,000.

By the time the crypto exchange realized its mistake on February 4, Chai had already converted the funds to USDT and withdrawn around A$956,000, bank records showed. OTCPro claimed to have suffered around A$492,000 ($322,000) in losses once it subtracted the remaining balance of the recovered account from the sum credited in error.

When the Exchange Needed Him Most, He Disappeared

After realizing the error, OTCPro attempted to contact Chai via the phone number and email address provided when setting up the company account. The Mildura resident responded to the exchange’s email request to return the funds.

However, the exchange received an unexpected response when contacting the phone number linked to Chai’s account. The person who answered the call denied being Kow Seng Chai and confirmed that the number did not belong to the fugitive. Consequently, the cryptocurrency exchange filed a freezing order petition with the Supreme Court of Victoria to freeze Chai’s assets issued on February 9. On February 21, the court also issued an injunction preventing the Malaysian-born man, who did not appear in court, from leaving Australia.

The evidence presented in court revealed some problematic conclusions about Chai’s companies. The missing businessman, who appears to also be the director of a Mildura-based company, had previously provided fraudulent bank statements as evidence of Lotte Enterprises’ business activity.

The Sydney-based company apparently has a standard trading pattern, according to OTCPro director Qi Tang. The company would deposit funds in Australian dollars into the account almost daily; it was possible to purchase Tether and withdraw the funds to a private wallet. The account had deposited almost 2 million Australian dollars since December 2023.

According to the report, a search by the crypto exchange revealed that the private wallet only had around 149.33 Australian dollars in assets on February 4. As a result, Judge Michael Osborne considered that the findings presented to the court in conjunction with Chai’s disappearance presented a “real risk of assets being disposed of”, which was taken into account when making the orders.

By Leonardo Perez


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