Bitcoin-Motivated Violent Crime Reaches Taiwan

Violent robberies involving Bitcoin seem to be becoming more common – Taiwanese police reported that four men have been arrested for assaulting a man and compelling him to transfer bitcoins to them, according to a report in Channel NewsAsia.

The perpetrators told the victim that they wanted to buy bitcoins from him, and invited him to meet them. He travelled to the city of Taichung with a friend to do just that. When he showed the group proof of his holdings, they assaulted him and his friend and executed a transfer using his phone. The man had 18 bitcoins on his phone, worth just over 170,000 USD at today’s price.

Local police said in a statement that the perpetrators then forced the victim to drink strong liquor in order to make the altercation seem like a drunken brawl.

One of the assailants was arrested at the scene, and the other three were picked up later from various locations.

This was the first such incident recorded in Taiwan. The crime mirrors the modus operandi of a New Delhi gang which had engaged in a spree of violent Bitcoin robberies before their arrest in September of last year, as reported by the Hindustan Times.

Other recent examples of Bitcoin-motivated violent crime include a Russian man blindfolded and forced to transfer bitcoins at gunpoint while he was on holiday in Thailand last week, a Canadian cryptocurrency exchange being unsuccessfully held up by three men at the end of January, and a 34-year old man from Hong Kong who had a large amount of cash stolen on a busy street in Wan Chai after travelling there to buy Bitcoin in person.

In one particularly shocking incident, a house in a sleepy Oxfordshire village was stormed by four men armed with guns who forced the homeowner to transfer Bitcoin to them, after binding his partner and placing the couple’s baby outside the house in a pram. That crime was conducted in broad daylight, but the perpetrators were not apprehended. The couple have not returned to the village since the attack.

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