Thieves steal Y1.4 billion in two hours from cash machines in Japan

Thieves steal Y1.4 billion in two hours from cash machines in Japan

A total of Yen1.4 billion ($12.7 million) has been stolen from cash machines in Japan in a co-ordinated two-hour raid by 100 people using cloned bank cards.

The culprits used the cards to make approximately 14,000 transactions, each totaling Yen100,000, from cash machines located in convenience stores across the country in the early hours of Sunday morning.

ATM transaction data suggests that the theft involved up to 1600 cloned cards obtained from Standard Bank in South Africa. The bank estimated its total loss at 300 million rand ($19 million).

Japanese police say they are working with authorities in South Africa to investigate the crime.

The case is similar to a pair of heists that took place in 26 countries in 2012 and 2013, when a criminal syndicate using a network of 'cashout crews' to steal $55 million from ATM machines in the space of a couple of hours.

In 2009, RBS WorldPay, the US payments processing arm of Royal Bank of Scotland Group, lost $9 million in a 30-minute period during a global ATM heist that involved 100 cloned cards in 49 cities worldwide.

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