Child kidnappers in South African demanded payment of 5 BTC to release a child who is nine years old. According to reports in the nation, a social-media driven site, which fights crime, recently got an email from kidnappers. They demanded to be paid 5 BTC, which is about $20,112 to let go of a nine-year child, Linathi Titshala. The kidnappers told the site that they had 48 hours to send the BTC. After that, they would end all communication. Their email also claimed that it would be deleted within 12 hours.
The Missing Child
After sending the email, the kidnappers provided a BTC address where the coins could be sent. The Child was reported missing on December 16 last year. This was after she did not return home after visiting her grandmother in Delft, South Africa, where she had gone for a birthday party. The authorities say she was kidnapped on her way home.
The BTC Address
The address has been released to the public. An analysis shows that only two transactions worth $67 each have passed through the address. First, the BTC was moved to an address with 120 coins and from there, they could have gone to a crypto exchange.
When the coins are moved to an exchange, the criminals can trade their BTC for privacy coins, which are almost impossible to trace. They can also cash the coins for fiat. It is likely that these kidnappers will try to avoid any crypto exchange with strict AML and KYC requirements. This will ensure it is hard to trace them if the police decided to do it. This highlights why it is important for all crypto exchanges to have strict AML/KYC rules.
The crime-fighting site, Western Cape Gangwatch tried to trace the email to the kidnappers. However, they reported that these kidnappers most likely used a cyber café to ensure they could not be found. This is because they have thus far not found any mail address or IP address. According to the site, the search for the little girl will continue.
The spokesperson for the site said that they were pooling their resources and trying to do a search again in the coming week. The search began again on Monday 7 and Tuesday 8 January from 9 AM to 4 PM.
Crime And Crypto
Since inception, crypto has raised many issues. Nations and companies have considered how they can stop crypto crime. However, it is quite clear that the anonymity of crypto has proven to be attractive to criminals. Critics of crypto will use this kidnapping as proof that crypto is not good for the world.
Criminals became attracted to it after its value spiked in 2017 where one BTC was trading at about $20,000. This is not the first time a kidnap has been connected to crypto. A while back, a person was kidnapped in Thailand until they transferred $100,000 of BTC to their online wallet. In Ukraine, a BTC exchange was held for a ransom of $1 million in BTC.