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South Africa: Man Tortured for Bitcoins, in Intensive Care

A Bitcoin trader in South Africa was lured to a residence under false pretences and set upon by five individuals who wanted his cryptocurrency. The crime took place in Soweto, a township in Johannesburg.

A hot iron

According to local news source Soweto Urban, “Andrew”, of Lanseria, was invited to give a presentation at a private residence by a man he had met on Facebook, and later in person. When he got there, someone came up behind him and knocked him out by way of a chemical-soaked cloth to the face.

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He awoke in a different house, surrounded by five individuals. These stripped him, assaulted him, and burned him with a hot iron, demanding to know his account details. They also threatened to kill him.

He transferred Bitcoin worth approximately 900,000 rand ($65,984) to the assailants, who also robbed him of two mobile phones, two laptops, 3,000 rand in cash, and then dumped him blindfolded on the side of a road.

Andrew is currently in intensive care being treated for burns.

Other violent crime 

In September 2018, a Cape Town businessman named Liyaqat Parker was held hostage for over two months by kidnappers who demanded 50 bitcoins. And outside of South Africa, a complicated case in India saw a man complain to the police that he was kidnapped by nine corrupt police officers. In the end, it transpired that he himself was the kidnapper, of a different individual; he had taken revenge for losing money in a BitConnect-related scheme. He extorted millions of dollars worth of Bitcoin from his victims and is currently in hiding.

Violent crimes involving Bitcoin do seem to have peaked; in late 2017/early 2018 stories were breaking more frequently. Examples include: armed men attempting to rob a Bitcoin exchange in Canada; a man assaulted and forced to transfer bitcoins in Taiwan; armed men breaking into a house and threatening a man’s family to get him to transfer bitcoins in Oxfordshire; a gang in New Delhi involved in kidnappings and fraud; and a New York man (armed of course) accosting a man and stealing his digital wallet.

There seems to have been fewer of these kinds of stories as the year has progressed; perhaps there is, after all, a positive to be found in the waning value of cryptocurrencies. This, however, is unlikely to be a comfort to Andrew.


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