For so long, global cryptocurrency crime involved hacking an exchange or floating a Ponzi operation. It seems some crooks have resorted to physical theft and assault.
In Hong Kong, a group of armed robbers ambushed a crypto trader and stole her Bitcoins.
A Trade Gone South
The gang had been priming their victim prior to the theft, per a report from the South China Morning Post (SCMP).
They had posed as crypto buyers, and one of them had engaged in multiple transactions with the victim – most likely to gain her trust.
A spokesperson for the Hong Kong police confirmed that they had found several deals between the victim and the gang.
These deals were for values around $77,000 to $90,000. Before the trader was robbed, the thieves had struck up a USDT exchange with the victim – a deal valued at about $450,000.
The deal was a peer-to-peer exchange between the robbers and the victims. The moment the crooks got the tokens, they locked her up in the office, collected her phone and the HK$3.5 million ( about $450,000) at knifepoint. The victim used her second phone to contact her husband, who eventually contacted law enforcement. The victim is reportedly unhurt in the entire operation.
A Spotlight on Physical Crypto Crime
Although uncommon, physical robberies aren’t so new to the crypto space. Some criminals have shown a lack of patience and would very much prefer to hit their victims physically, regardless of the consequences.
The unnamed victim in this week’s case was able to leave the ordeal unhurt. However, the same can’t be said for many people who have been through similar experiences. In September 2019, Norwegian news source TV 2 reported that a local man had been robbed at his luxurious private apartment.
Also unnamed, this victim had reportedly been famous for making about $11 million at the time through his crypto trades. The robber allegedly gained access to the victim’s housing block and rang the doorbell directly. Once the millionaire answered the door, he found a shotgun barrel in his face.
According to the Oslo Attorney General’s Office, the suspect threatened his victim to lay down or he’d shoot. However, the victim was quick to escape as he threw himself off his balcony and fell two floors to the adjoining street. The report didn’t say whether the victim sustained any injuries, but considering the fall, he probably did.