Recently Two people have been arrested by the police in Mpumalanga, South Africa for suspicious of kidnapping a 13-year-old boy in Witbank whose family was ransomed to pay over 32.89 BTC ($120,000 USD).
Information provided by the South Africa’s Times says that following May 2018 kidnapping, the South African Police Service (SAPS) created a special task force to deal with the unprecedented threat of kidnappers attempting to facilitate their criminal activities by utilizing cryptocurrency to remain anonymous in their crimes.
SAPS Brigadier Leonard Hlathi had this to say during an interview by the Times:
These cases were the first of their kind in Mpumalanga and a task team comprising of different units within the South African Police Service was immediately established by police management to investigate this matter.
The Set Up
During May 20th, the victim was kidnapped during his way back from shopping with his friend. The kidnappers snatched him up and threw him into a silver Toyota Corolla and sped off during broad daylight while a neighbor’s CCTV camera captured the act. The boy’s parents, who at the time were unaware of what bitcoin even was, came home to a ransom letter demanding bitcoins estimated up to 1.5 million rands.
According to the special task for the team investigating this criminal case, the first suspect was captured in Germiston, Gauteng during November, while the second suspect was apprehended during December 30th in Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal. During their questions, the task for established that both suspects had similar plans to request for ransom through Bitcoin payment in a botched kidnapping attempt. During Tuesday, both were placed under court and bail has been placed at 1,000 rands each.