Kidnappers demand bitcoin ransom


A criminal gang in South Africa who kidnapped a teenage boy are demanding a ransom in bitcoin cryptocurrency of nearly $120,000, police said.

Katlego Marite (13) was dragged into a car while playing with two friends near his home in Witbank, in Mpumalanga, on Sunday afternoon, police spokesman Leonard Hlathi said.

“They demanded the family should deposit a sum of 15 bitcoins, not in rands,” he told news channel eNCA. “The parents don’t even know what these bitcoins are. They are not dealing in those things. They are in tatters as we speak.”

Police in South Africa have reported a recent rise in kidnappings, the ransom demand in cryptocurrency appears to be a first.

In December, kidnappers in Ukraine were paid a ransom worth more than $1 million in bitcoins for releasing a victim – an employee of a British cryptocurrency exchange.