Taiwan has just seen its first Bitcoin robbery as four men stole 5 million Taiwanese dollars (USD 170,000) worth of BTC. The police later apprehended the criminals involved.
The robbery took place in the central city of Taichung. Taiwan’s police authorities said three men in their early twenties lured a man surnamed Tai under the guise of being interested in buying bitcoins. They persuaded him in making the sale face-to-face.
After Tai showed proof of his bitcoins on his phone, the men attacked him and his friend, then transferred 18 bitcoins worth 5 million Taiwanese dollar from Tai’s account via his phone.
The suspects then forced the victim to drink Kaoliang, a strong Taiwanese liquor, to make it look like a drunken row had taken place, the Taichung city police said in a statement.
Police arrived at the scene after receiving a call about a dispute. Two of the scammers fled, but the third one was detained.
“The police saw bloodstains at the scene… after further investigation, it was discovered to be a bitcoin virtual currency robbery,” read the statement released yesterday.
It described the case, which occurred earlier this month, as being “the first domestic case of bitcoin robbery”.
The two other suspects who fled were later arrested, one on the outlying island of Kinmen where he had gone to evade the police.
The law enforcement arrested a fourth man, surnamed Shih, believed to be the mastermind behind the robbery.
Reports do not mention if the stolen bitcoin have been returned to the victim.
Bitcoin is a virtual currency that first appeared in 2009, and since then its price has seen incredible heights, hitting mark after mark. This has led to an increase in trading and overall interest in the cryptocurrency, but has also contributed to a growing number of hacks, scams and thefts.
This has resulted in criminals applying violent methods to get their hands on cryptocurrency or the fiat used for purchasing it.
A recent example happened last month, when a Bitcoin trader and his wife were threatened with a gun. Also, an attempted armed robbery of a cryptocurrency exchange in Canada took place.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are decentralized, meaning they are independent of governments and banks and that they also lack regulation by such institutions. This characteristic makes cryptocurrencies even more appealing to individuals involved in illegal activities.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that in-real-life cryptocurrency thefts will become more common, but such recent events show how important it is to be extremely cautious when making a sale in person.