Taiwanese authorities recently arrested four men over a bitcoin robbery that netted them 5 million Taiwanese dollars, worth roughly US$170,000. According to police, this was the first-ever bitcoin-related robbery in the country.
To get the money, three men in their early twenties reportedly lured a bitcoiner, surnamed Tai, to a central city. They lured their victim by claiming they were interested in buying bitcoin from him, face-to-face.
Tai wasn’t naïve, and brought a friend to accompany him and presumably help if anything went wrong during the sale. Once Tai showed the assailants he had the bitcoins on a wallet on his phone, they attacked him and his friend, so they could transfer 18 BTC to their own wallet using the victim’s phone.
“The police saw bloodstains at the scene… after further investigation, it was discovered to be a bitcoin virtual currency robbery,” a statement read.
After robbing Tai, the criminals forced him to drink Kaoliang, a strong Taiwanese liquor. Their goal was to make it look like he was involved in a drunken brawl. Their plan, however, failed as police managed to catch all four suspects.
Bitcoin robbery suspects arrested
Tai and his friend were seemingly lucky, as someone called the police over the dispute. While two of the criminals managed to flee the scene, a third one was detained. The crooks who fled the scene were later captured by police.
One of them, in an attempt to escape the long arm of the law, fled to the outlying island of Kinmen. A fourth suspect, surnamed Shih, was also arrested. Shih is believed to be the mastermind behind the bitcoin robbery.
It’s unclear if the bitcoins were returned to their rightful owner, or if they ever will be. Following the theft, the criminals could have used a mixer to hide the stolen funds. Since they were caught, however, they could be forced to pay back the victim in fiat. Given bitcoin’s volatility, it may not be easy to determine an adequate compensation.
Criminals usually acquire cryptocurrencies by either stealing from other people after hacking them online, or using their computer resources to mine. As covered by Core Media, Tesla’s cloud was recently used to mine, while earlier this year cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck was hacked and lost over $500 million worth of NEM.