Hong Kong police announced on Tuesday the arrest of a 24-year-old who is suspected of stealing HK$1.5 million (US$191,076) in cryptocurrencies in a physical cash-to-crypto transaction. 

See related article: Hong Kong sees high engagement with crypto, Visa research shows

Fast facts

The police labeled the rare on-site cryptocurrency theft as a serious crime punishable by 10 years in prison, if convicted.

Hong Kong police spokeswoman Tong Sin-tung said at a Wednesday press conference the suspect had a face-to-face cryptocurrency transaction with the victim at a business located in tourist hub Tsim Sha Tsui on May 4. 

After the victim transferred the crypto to the suspect’s wallet, the suspect fled through a side door and locked the victim inside.

Tong said the trading location was leased by a shell company for HK$4,000 (US$509) per month in April.The shop’s cash register was not connected to a power outlet and the “computer” was an empty box.

Tong said the police are seeking to determine if the suspect was working alone, adding that the ongoing investigation could result in further arrests.

See related article: Hackers infiltrate Monkey Kingdom NFT community, steal US$1.3M

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