Beijing Prosecutors Approve Arrest of A Man Who Stole Over 2 Million Yuan in Bitcoin
Last week, Beijing’s Haidian District Procuratorate approved the arrest of a man alleged to have been involved in the theft of more than 2 million CNY worth of bitcoin on a charge of illegally gaining access to computer data. It was the first bitcoin robbery in Beijing, as Beijing Daily reported.
The suspect, known by his surname Zhong, was an operations engineer of a technology company prior to his arrest. In September of 2017, he detected abnormal data on the company’s server during his routine maintenance work one day, and it was caused by a hacker who ought to invade the server and to steal the company’s bitcoins.
After beating the hacker, the ill-intentioned engineer took advantage of his position as a web administrator to add several lines of code to the server, cracked the password of the bitcoin wallet owned by his company, stole 100 bitcoins and transfered them to his own bitcoin wallet which is registered on an oversea website.
In order to shy away from tracking, Zhong used the site’s “private wallet” feature to store 10 out of 100 bitcoins. However, this private wallet was later confirmed as a phishing scam and 10 bitcoins were unable to be retrieved. Then after committing the crime, Zhong returned the remaining 90 bitcoins to his company. And he was arrested by police in January.
Referring to the bitcoin price of nearly 20,000CNY on September 16 of 2017, the victim company suffered more than 2 million CNY loss then.But now, 100 bitcoins worth close to 5 million CNY.
Ji Jingling, the prosecutor who prides over the bitcoin theft case, said that virtual currency like bitcoin is a new concept of internet finance, but is hyped up by media and speculators. PBOC has issued warnings on cryptocurrency, stating that “China has not issued state-backed digital currency, and no company or organization has been authorized to launch and promote cryptocurrencies. At present, all cryptocurrencies in the market are illegal under domestic law”.
From a legal perspective, it is difficult to define the value of bitcoin, but if someone illegally modifies features of the computer system which results in economic losses when conducting bitcoin-related activities, he will also be punished by law. This bitcoin robber’s behavior has already violated the provisions of China’s Criminal Law.
According to the Criminal Law,he shall be sentenced to not more than three years in prison or criminal detention; if the circumstances are especially serious, he shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not less than three years but not more than seven years and shall also be fined.