Crypto Exchange Mistake Leads to Man’s Disappearance

Typing Error Costs Crypto Exchange Hundreds of Thousands

An Australian businessman has allegedly vanished after receiving an accidental deposit from a crypto trading platform in late January. The Victorian Supreme Court has frozen his assets as efforts to contact him have been unsuccessful.

Mildura Resident Pockets Half a Million in Typing Error

According to ABC News Australia, a Mildura resident, Kow Seng Chai, disappeared after pocketing over half a million dollars in a costly typing error. On January 25, Chai deposited AU$99,500 to the crypto trading platform Rhino Trading Pty Ltd, operating under the name OTCPro. The deposit, worth around $62,000, was made through an account set up by Chai for his Sydney-based business Lotte Enterprise Pty Ltd.

Exchange Accidentally Credits Extra Zero

The exchange mistakenly credited Chai’s account with an extra zero, crediting AU$ 995,000 (approximately $621,000) instead of the correct AU$ 99,500. The court documents show that the Lotte Enterprise account had a balance of around AU$ 1.36 million ($890,000) after the mistake.

Chai Converts Funds to USDT and Withdraws

By the time the crypto exchange discovered its error on February 4, Chai had already converted the funds to USDT and withdrawn about AU$ 956,000, as per bank records. OTCPro claimed to have suffered losses of around AU$ 492,000 ($322,000) after subtracting the remaining recovered account balance from the mistakenly accredited sum.

Exchange Attempts to Contact Chai, Receives Unexpected Response

After realizing the mistake, OTCPro tried to contact Chai through the phone number and email address provided when setting up the company’s account. Chai initially responded to the exchange’s email request to return the funds. However, when the exchange contacted the phone number linked to Chai’s account, the person who answered denied being Kow Seng Chai and confirmed that the number did not belong to him.

Victorian Supreme Court Freezes Chai’s Assets, Prevents Him from Leaving Australia

Consequently, OTCPro presented a freezing order petition to the Victorian Supreme Court, which was issued on February 9. On February 21, the court also issued an injunction preventing Chai from leaving Australia. Evidence presented to the court revealed that Chai had previously provided fraudulent bank statements as evidence of Lotte Enterprises’ business activity.

Chai’s Company Had Standard Trading Pattern

According to OTCPro’s director, Qi Tang, the Sydney-based company had a standard trading pattern. The company would deposit funds in Australian dollars to the account almost daily, purchase Tether, and withdraw the funds to a private wallet. The account had deposited almost AU$2 million since December 2023.

Private Wallet Contains Only Small Amount of Assets

A search by the crypto exchange revealed that the private wallet only had around AU$149.33 in assets on February 4. Judge Michael Osborne considered the findings presented to the court alongside Chai’s disappearance and issued orders to freeze his assets.

Chai’s Whereabouts Unknown

At the time of writing, Chai’s whereabouts and the missing funds remain unknown.