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Latvian ATM thief finishes prison time, deported from Taiwan

Peregudovs last of the criminals from 2016 ATM heist to be released from prison

Peregudovs moving through airport customs. 

Peregudovs moving through airport customs.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Latvian man who robbed several ATMs in 2016 has completed his prison term in Taiwan and was deported Monday evening (Aug. 30), according to the National Immigration Agency (NIA).

Andrejs Peregudovs was sentenced to four years and 10 months behind bars, a term which was extended by 250 days because he could not pay a fine of NT$500,000 (US$18,004), according to a CNA report.

Peregudovs is the last of three men convicted in the case to be released. The others — Nicolae Pencov of Moldova and Mihail Colibaba of Romania — were deported in September and November last year, serving sentences of four years and six months and four years and eight months, respectively.

A ring of international criminals staged the high-profile ATM heist in July 2016. After using malware to hack into the bank's computing system, members of the syndicate withdrew NT$83.27 million (US$2.76 million at the exchange rate at the time) from dozens of First Bank ATMs in Taipei, New Taipei, and Taichung.

Authorities were unaware of the thievery until passersby saw two men stashing away huge amounts of cash from the mouth of an ATM in Taipei in the middle of the night. The witnesses immediately notified the police.

While some of the criminals hightailed it out of Taiwan before they could be detained, Peregudovs, Colibaba, and Pencov — who were tasked with getting the money out of the country — were arrested on July 17, 2016, and sentenced to jail.

The other 19 suspects who fled the country have been put on a wanted list, according to prosecutors. Police recovered more than NT$77 million worth of stolen cash.

Updated : 2021-09-24 21:05 GMT+08:00