Bitcoin has been growing in South Africa. Lots of individuals have been using the virtual currency for different purposes and the interest for it in South Africa remains the highest in the world – amid a bear market.
This time, a group of kidnappers in the country, decided to make a ransom demand in Bitcoin, according to The Guardian. A 13-year-old teenager has been kidnapped in the town of Witbank in the eastern province of Mpumalanga. He was playing with two friends near his home when a Toyota Corolla stopped and three individuals took him into the car. As reported by a local media source, the police spokesperson, Brigadier Leonard Hlathi, explained that the teenage boy, Kathlego Marite, went missing in the afternoon of Sunday, 20 May when he was playing with two other friends.
Mr. Hlathi commented:
“A gold Toyota Corolla with three occupants stopped next to them. One of the men, dressed in black with a green jacket, grabbed the victim and dragged him to the vehicle before driving off with him.”
The kidnappers are demanding R1.5 million which must be paid in Bitcoin. The first payment has been done (1 BTC before May the 1st), the second payment should be done before may the 27th. The Brigadier was not able to provide more information because the topic is now under investigation. Additionally, he explained that the family is totally destroyed and that they are going through trauma. For a typical family, sometimes it is quite complicated to understand Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.
“They don’t even know what this bitcoin is. They’re devastated and you can see they’re worried and asking themselves, ‘where’s our son?’”
The South African Police Service has also uploaded a picture of the boy on Twitter. Other people are also searching for him as soon as the news spread.
#sapsMP #SAPS members are looking for info that could lead to the discovery of Katlego Marite(13) who was kidnapped yesterday from Witbank whilst playing with his friends. Anyone with info to contact #CrimeStop on 08600 10111. SWhttps://t.co/juPRuGZHHL pic.twitter.com/luLmuUzfIF
— SA Police Service (@SAPoliceService) May 21, 2018
This is not the first time that kidnappers or thieves try to steal virtual currencies. For example, in Dubai, the police were able to arrest a gang that stole $1.9 million dollars in Bitcoin. According to the local news site, Gulf News, some gangsters have been arrested by the Police which used AI technology to locate the members of the group.
Major General Khalil Ebrahim Al Mansouri, Assistant Commander-in-Chief for Criminal Investigation Affairs at Dubai Police, said:
“Using AI helped Dubai Police to arrest a Gulf National, who is the head of the gang, and other Asian suspects. The information from the data analysis centre helped the officers to arrest all gang members.”
Another situation took place in Taiwan where the Taiwanese Police arrested the first Bitcoin robbery suspects. A Bitcoin holder wanted to sell his Bitcoins to three other individuals. When they realized that he had 18 Bitcoins in his possession, the buyers decided to attack the seller.
As a precaution, the bitcoin holder was with a friend, in case something could go wrong. But the three crooks attacked them very hard, gave them alcohol to drink and escaped with the money. Sometime later, the police were able to capture one of the main suspects.