Asia

Taiwan ATMs 'robbed of $2.5m by European hackers'

A general view shows temporarily shut down ATM machines in the Mucha branch of the First Bank in Taipei, Taiwan, 12 July 2016. Image copyright EPA
Image caption The thieves used malware to withdraw bags of cash in minutes

Three foreign suspects have been arrested in Taiwan in connection with the theft of $2.5m (£1.9m) from cash machines around the country.

A network of criminals from eastern Europe and Russia used malware to hack into dozens of First Commercial Bank ATMs, police say.

CCTV footage shows masked thieves walking away with bags of stolen cash.

One Latvian man was held in northeast Taiwan, while two other suspects were arrested in the capital Taipei.

More than half of the money has been recovered but another 13 suspects are believed to have fled the country.

Bags of cash

"This is the first time that an international team of ATM thieves has committed a crime in Taiwan," the head of the police's Criminal Investigation Division, Lee Wen-chang, said.

It remains unclear exactly how the thieves installed malware on the machines, but it allowed them to quickly withdraw large amounts of cash.

Investigators believe they may have used mobile phones.

In response, banks have frozen withdrawals from more than 1,000 ATMs.

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