Four men have been arrested in Taiwan following a bitcoin robbery.
Police were called to the street in the city Taichung by neighbors who reported a dispute. They found bloodstains at the scene, and it was discovered that a cryptocurrency trader named Tai had been lured by men pretending to wish to buy Bitcoin and attacked.
The police report details that after Tai showed proof of his Bitcoin using his mobile phone, he was allegedly assaulted, with the attackers managing to transfer 18 bitcoins worth $188,000 from the device. An attempt was then made to pass the attack off as a drunken row by forcing the victim to drink Kaoliang, a strong liquor.
One man was arrested at the scene, and a second on the island of Kinmen, where he had attempted to evade detection. The two other accused were caught by police after the event, with the fourth man stated to be the mastermind of the attack. No information has been provided regarding whether the funds have been restored to their owner.
The event marks the first occurrence of cryptocurrency robbery in Taiwan, however, a similar event did occur earlier this year in the UK. Two cryptocurrency traders were robbed at gunpoint in their Oxfordshire home, with the aggressors taking the couple’s baby. Direct robbery is not the only method criminals have used to steal cryptocurrency. At the end of last year, news spread that an executive of the Ukrainian EXMO exchange had been kidnapped, with criminals demanding a $1m Bitcoin ransom.
Cryptocurrency related crime appears to be growing, with users of the technology presenting a growing target following the recent boom in prices. It is a highly worrying development, and cryptocurrency users who wish to trade with strangers are warned to be vigilant and to operate in public spaces to minimize the risk of robbery. Whilst the many exchange hacks and online cryptocurrency heists (such as last months $530m Coincheck breach) have taught traders to be careful with their funds, police warn of the new risks of direct robbery that come with the additional risk of physical harm or even worse.