Chinese police from multiple cities have arrested three individuals who allegedly stole bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies worth around $87 million.
Chinese news agency Xinhua reported on Saturday that the three were busted on Aug. 15 in Hunan, Changchun provinces, and the capital city Beijing, respectively, after a months-long investigation launched by the police.
According to the report, a self-claimed victim, identified by his surname Zhang, first filed a complaint to the police in the northwestern city Xi’an in March that his computer was hacked and lost crypto assets worth around $14.5 million.
The police investigation, with assistance from several notable but unnamed internet companies, later located a suspect with the surname Zhou, who allegedly broke into Zhang’s personal computer remotely to transfer the funds. As the investigation went on, the police further identified Zhou’s two other accomplices, who are both alleged to be highly experienced hackers.
The police further accused the group of having conducted a series of illegal cyber intrusion into corporation and personal networks to obtain crypto assets, with an initial estimation of 600 million yuan, or about $87 million.
While the investigation is still ongoing, it is a notable case given the significant amount of cryptocurrency assets that are reportedly involved. It also comes at a time when Chinese police have stepped efforts to crack down cyber-crimes that relate to cryptocurrency.
Previously, police in China’s Dalian city also arrested 20 suspects from a computer technology firm who allegedly used crypto mining malware to infect over a million computers and reportedly earned more than $2 million over two years.