Abductors of boy, 13, left note demanding 92,000 worth of cryptocurrency for his release
A gang that kidnapped a South African teenager from a playground at the weekend have demanded a ransom in bitcoin worth about $123,000, police have said.
The 13-year-old boy was taken in the town of Witbank in the eastern province of Mpumalanga while he was playing with two friends near his home. Witnesses said a Toyota Corolla pulled up nearby and the teenager was dragged in and driven away.
We are investigating a case of kidnapping that happened on Sunday in Witbank. There was a demand that was made that the parents should deposit cash in bitcoins, the police spokesman Leonard Hlathi said on Tuesday. Local media said the ransom note was left at the scene.
This is a kidnapping We demand ransom of 15 bitcoins to be paid into the below bitcoin wallet address to secure your childs safe release non-negotiable, the note reportedly read.
The first deadline for payment of part of the ransom passed on Monday night. In the note, the kidnappers threatened to kill the boy if their demands were not met. A police official said boys parents were going through trauma.
They dont even know what this bitcoin is. Theyre devastated and you can see theyre worried and asking themselves: Wheres our son? local media quoted the official as saying. The boys mother made an emotional appeal on Tuesday, pleading with the kidnappers to bring back [her] son.
Police in South Africa have reported a recent rise in kidnappings, although it is usually wealthy businesspeople who are targeted. The latest case appears to be the first ransom demand in made for a cryptocurrency in the country.
In December 2017, an employee at a cryptocurrency exchange in Ukraine was released by kidnappers after a ransom of more than $1m worth of bitcoins was paid.