An Algerian arrested at an airport in Thailand this week has defrauded 217 banks worldwide of tens of millions of dollars, Thai officials charge. They also say the FBI has been hunting him for three years.
Pornchai Kittiwongsakul/AFP/Getty Images
American and Thai authorities may well have jointly scooped up one of the world's top 20 bank-hacking criminal masterminds, someone who is part of a global cyber-conspiracy to commit bank fraud to the tune of $100 million. Or, the man arrested in Bangkok on Sunday may simply be a happy-go-lucky guy with a bunch of computer equipment and an odd sense of humor.
How else to explain the capture of the quirky Hamza Bendelladj, whom news reports call the "happy hacker" for his post-arrest sunbeam-bright smile, seeming almost pleased to be in custody?
Whether walking handcuffed with police through the Bangkok airport where he was captured or whether sitting later at a police press conference, the 24-year-old Algerian – characterized by Thai police as a cyber bank robber who defrauded hundreds of banks of millions of dollars through online fraud – kept right on grinning.
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