South African Bank Loses Millions in ATM Robbery in Japan

July 7, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. robbery /ˈrɒb ə ri/ (n.) – the act of stealing someone else’s property
Example: Authorities are now investigating a recent bank robbery in the city.

2. loot /lut/ (v.) – to steal something after a place has been damaged
Example: Rioters looted almost all the products in the store.

3. fraud /frɔd/ (n.) – something intended to deceive
Example: Many were arrested after the bank fraud.

4. sophisticated / səˈfɪs tɪˌkeɪ tɪd/ (adj.) – highly developed
Example: The computer engineers created a sophisticated system to track criminals.

5. simultaneously / ˌsaɪ məlˈteɪ ni əs li / (adv.) – at the same time
Example: The fire and the robbery happened simultaneously


Read the text below.
Officials in Japan and other international authorities are now investigating a massive ATM robbery that reportedly looted millions of dollars from a South African bank.

On May 15, local Japanese newspapers issued reports about an international bank theft involving 1,400 ATMs housed in convenience stores across Japan. According to the news, the criminals used around 1,600 fake cards to withdraw money from Standard Bank—one of the largest banks in South Africa.

The bank, which describes the fraud as sophisticated and coordinated, lost a total of 300 million rand (USD20 million). Despite this big loss, the South African bank assured customers that their accounts and funds were not affected. Ross Linstrom, a representative from the bank, said that they were able to take quick actions to keep the situation under control.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the criminals, composed of more than 100 members, simultaneously withdrew the money from machines in Tokyo and 16 other prefectures. A report from Yomiuri Shimbun mentioned that the suspects did their operation early in the morning, giving them more time to leave the country hours before the banks realized the incident.

The ATMs used by the crime syndicate are run by Seven Bank, which is owned by Seven & I Holdings Co, who also owns the 7-Eleven convenience store franchise. The Japanese bank is one of only two banks in Japan that accept credit and debit cards issued abroad.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What do you think would be the effect of this incident on banks in Japan and South Africa?
·         What do you think bank owners and authorities should do to make customers feel secure about their accounts?

Discussion B

·         How can people secure their bank details?
·         Aside from theft, what are other risks associated with putting money in a bank? 

July 7, 2016