Morning News: S Korean Crypto-crook Arrested, Russian Mine Raided
USD 165m Worth Crypto-funded Crime Japan Still Feeling the Burn from Coincheck Hack Taipei Strikes Blockchain Deal Chinese District Makes Blockchain Bid Police Arrest USD 150m Crypto Fraudster Men Arrested After USD 36,000 Raid on BTC Mine
Catch up on the most essential cryptocurrency and blockchain news stories breaking in Asia and the Americas while the rest of the world was asleep.
South Korean Customs Officials Uncover USD 165m Worth of Cryptocurrency-funded Crime
The Korea Customs Service (KCC) says it has uncovered evidence that cryptocurrency transactions were used to fund a combined 177 billion won (around USD 165m) worth of illegal activities, including drug smuggling. The KCC says that whereas in the past, Korea-based criminals tended to use Chinese cryptocurrency exchanges to convert funds, Beijing’s crackdown last September has forced them to instead turn to Korean exchanges. Media outlet Hangyoreh quotes a KCC official as saying, “We plan to continue to tighten the net on criminals using cryptocurrencies to fund the smuggling of tobacco, drugs and other illegal goods.”
Japan Still Feeling the Burn from Coincheck Hack
Japan is still reeling from last Friday’s massive Coincheck hack. Media outlet Jiji quotes a domestic cryptocurrency analyst who says he is “concerned about the future of the market.” The analyst also adds, “The low security levels that Japanese exchanges are operating with presents a major problem now. In fact, the whole digital currency market is currently at risk.” The media outlet also quotes a stunned 30-year-old male Tokyo resident as saying, “I thought Coincheck would be a risk-free exchange as it is such a major player in the [crypto] market.”
Taipei City Strikes Blockchain Deal
Taipei City has unveiled an ambitious plan to incorporate blockchain technology in its smart city plans. The Taiwanese city has struck a deal with Germany’s IOTA Foundation that will also see it develop IoT smart city initiatives. Per city authorities, “Secure distributed ledger technology could help Taipei City’s digital citizen cards from being tampered with, allowing citizens to feel at ease without worrying about identity theft or fraud when voting, providing background medical record information, or using government-related services.”
Autonomous Chinese District Makes Blockchain Bid
Lawmakers representing autonomous region Guangxi have voted in favor of a new proposal to “accelerate” its adaptation of blockchain technology. State-run media sources report that 71 members of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference voted in favor of a bill called “A Proposal to Accelerate the Introduction and Cultivation of Blockchain Industry.” A Science and Technology Department spokesperson said that blockchain projects were now underway “all over the country, spearheading a new generation of IT industries,” adding, “As no province is yet dominating when it comes to blockchain, Guangxi cannot miss this opportunity to develop.”
South Korean Police Arrest USD 150m Crypto Fraudster
South Korean police have arrested a man in the Philippines, accusing him of over two decades’ worth of criminal activities, including USD 150 million worth of cryptocurrency fraud. The police said the man first fled from South Korea to China and then the Philippines, where he masterminded numerous pyramid schemes and bogus cryptocurrency sales. The man, who has been deported and charged in the southern city of Busan, is said to have fronted a 30-person crime web as part of his cryptocurrency fraud network. Korean police said that 28 of the man’s accomplices have been arrested, with six already jailed, and two still at large.
Masked Men Arrested After USD 36,000 Raid on Russian Bitcoin Mine
Police have arrested two men suspected of stealing cryptocurrency mining equipment from a company in Irkutsk, Russia. The men, aged 25 and 27, are described as residents of the Usolye-Sibirskoe region. Interior Ministry sources say the men wore balaclavas and overpowered the company’s security guard. They then allegedly bound him with masking tape before stealing servers and other equipment worth an estimated 2 million rubles (USD 36,000).