26 Jun 2021 · 2 min read

Crypto-keen South Korean Thieves Raid GPUs from ‘Love Hotel’ PCs

Criminals have hatched a fiendish plan to help them build up their token portfolios – by stealing graphics cards from PCs in South Korean “love hotels,” motels that cater to couples craving physical intimacy.

Source: Adobe/Ivan

Love hotels can be found all over South Korea and across the sea in Japan – and provide short-term accommodation to young, mostly unmarried couples, although older couples often conduct their out-of-wedlock affairs at the same institutions.

These motels are big on anonymity – many only accept cash payments, and offer discreet parking facilities and other privacy-boosting features. Some allow couples to access their rooms directly from their parking lots, meaning they run no risk of running into acquaintances in elevators or on stairwells.

Some of the more upscale of these motels offer facilities like high-spec TV sets and desktop gaming PCs. And it appears that some criminals have sought to take advantage – by plundering high-value graphics units from love hotels’ computers.

Per the Busan Ilbo and Asia Kyungjae, thieves stole USD 3,500 worth of GPUs from a motel in Incheon’s southern Michuhol District on June 12.

The thieves are still at large, police said, but identified them as being aged in their “teens or twenties.”

The men, inspectors said, had rented a room after noticing – via a smartphone app – that the facilities had been designed for amorous gaming fans, and fitted with high-end desktop PCs. The thieves proceeded to strip the GPUs out of the devices before requesting a room change. The motel owner obliged, unaware of what had just taken place. The two men then continued their spree, dismantling the devices in this room, too – before running off into the night with their haul.

Police officers claimed the thieves were taking advantage of still-high GPU prices to sell the cards to miners – or perhaps use them to mine crypto themselves.

Inspectors added that they were still studying CCTV footage from nearby businesses to establish the men’s identities.

Teenagers who pulled a similar heist in a love hotel in the same district earlier this month were later apprehended by the police.

Back in February, Incheon police successfully tracked down another set of crypto-keen raiders – two men in their 20s – after they destroyed love hotel PCs to steal GPUs and memory cards, charging the thieves with robbery.

The police warned love hotel operators to be “vigilant” to the threat of further GPU thefts.
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