Authorities recently took three men into custody following their alleged swindling of $226,000 in Hong Kong dollars from Bitcoin (BTC) ATMs in the territory.
The apprehended male trio, ranging from age 26 to age 55, allegedly exploited six different Bitcoin ATM machines, manipulating them to cough up the Hong Kong dollar equivalent of roughly $30,000 U.S. dollars, an article from the South China Morning Post detailed on Aug. 15. The alleged robbers took the cash out across 11 transactions.
Authorities think the three males in question reportedly make up part of a larger criminal operation, the South China Morning Post article said.
Two crypto exchanges tipped authorities off to the nefarious activity prior to the arrests. Wilson Tam, superintendent of Hong Kong's cyber security and technology crime bureau, did not divulge the exact thievery methods used, although the bureau did provide the two affected ATM businesses with tips on increased security measures.
"It is the first time we came across fraud linked to bitcoin ATMs," Tam said, as reported by the South China Morning Post.
The number of Bitcoin ATMs in the world reached 8,000 in June 2020, while Bitcoin itself has gained further publicity as a viable asset over the course of the year, making the asset a logical target for attacks.