Business

Erik Gibbs

Kidnap-for-crypto scheme in India stopped

Expect to see this in a novel or crime-based TV show in the near future. Three individuals are kidnapped and held for ransom. The trio, which includes two cryptocurrency traders, will be released if a ransom of 80 SegWitCoin (BTC)—around $840,000—is paid. Before the crime can be completed, though, police are able to break up the operation and save the hostages from further harm or, possibly, death.

This scenario played out over the past couple of weeks in India. 19-year-old Luftan Shaikh, 44-year-old Malang Shah and 36-year-old Mohammad Shazad had been abducted and held for ransom. Everything began falling apart in the early morning hours this past Sunday when police came across a gun-wielding man near the Shankara Residency in Bhankrota.

The law enforcement officers arrested the man, who then proceeded to tell the whole story about the kidnapping scheme. Police launched a rescue operation that took 13 hours, ultimately arresting seven individuals who were keeping the victims captive. The same seven are suspected of involvement in a number of crimes, including kidnapping, looting, robbery and extortion, according to a report by the Hindustan Times.

Vika Sharm, the deputy commissioner of police, stated, “The gang kidnapped Shaikh and Shazad, two bitcoin traders, and demanded 80 [BTC] (currently worth around $840,000—much more two weeks ago) worth 8 crore. Shah was kidnapped two days later. The gang demanded 10 lakh (about $14.562) from his family members.” The trio was reportedly beaten with “belts, sticks, and other things” while being held captive.

It isn’t clear if any of the ransom had been paid. However, given that they were still being held, chances are good that the kidnappers were still waiting for their bounty.

India isn’t the only country to have had to deal with crypto kidnappers. Police in Morocco arrested a group accused of holding crypto users for ransom in June and Pakistan had to deal with its own kidnapping-for-crypto problem this past March. One case out of the Netherlands this past February has been one of the most brutal, with a crypto trader tortured for an hour with a drill while his four-year-old daughter watched.

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