Three suspects have been detained by Chinese police in connection with an alleged cryptocurrency theft. The supposed hackers stole bitcoin and other digital assets worth an estimated $87 million USD. Authorities say this is the biggest heist of this type in the People’s Republic so far.
Coins Worth 600 Million Yuan Stolen by Hackers
Police in China have arrested three men suspected of stealing approximately 600 million yuan (over $87 million USD) worth of cryptocurrency through hacking. The presumed criminals targeted personal and corporate computers, local media reported.
The case has been described by law enforcement officials in Xian, capital of the northern Shaanxi province, as the “highest value cryptocurrency criminal investigation” in the country to date. An officer quoted by the South China Morning Post, commented:
Our bureau has not dealt with this kind of case before. It’s the first virtual currency-related case in Shaanxi.
The investigation was initiated in March, this year when one of the victims, a resident of Xian, notified local police that his computer had been hacked. He complained that the unknown attackers had appropriated 100 million yuan (almost $15 million) in bitcoin core (BTC) and ethereum (ETH).
The Suspects Worked for Top Internet Companies
According to investigators, the men had been employed by leading internet companies and had extensive tech background. No details about the firms were revealed, however. After taking hold of the virtual funds, they sold the coins by splitting the digital cash into small amounts and conducting multiple transactions in order to cover their tracks.
Police analyzed enormous amount of collected data with the help of experts from the IT sector before identifying the first suspect, a resident of the central Hunan province named Zhou. Two months later they were able to find the other two supposed accomplices – Cui, a man from Beijing, and Zhang from Jilin province.
Security services put the men under around-the-clock surveillance before detaining them in coordinated raids this past Wednesday. Chinese authorities and media note that the investigation is still ongoing.
The popularity of cryptocurrencies in the People’s Republic has led to a significant increase in both crimes and disputes related to digital assets. According to a recent report, Chinese courts are overwhelmed by a growing number of such cases. With unclear regulations and an ambiguous ban on ICOs and cryptocurrency trading, Chinese judges find it hard to resolve many of them.
Do you think Chinese police have the capacity to investigate crypto-related crimes? Share your opinions on the subject in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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