Expatica news

S.African boy kidnapped for bitcoin is found

A South African teenager was found Thursday four days after he was kidnapped by a gang who demanded a ransom in bitcoin cryptocurrency worth about $123,000 (105,000 euros), police said.

Police declined to say if any ransom had been paid after the 13-year-old boy was taken in the eastern province of Mpumalanga while playing near his home and driven away in a car.

Local media published a ransom note left at the scene demanding 15 bitcoins and giving an address for a bitcoin “wallet” — an internet location where the virtual currency can be stashed.

“I can confirm that Katlego Marite has been found,” Mpumalanga police spokesman Leonard Hlathi told eNCA television news.

“I am not at liberty to divulge more details. Currently an investigation is underway.

“He was alone when he was found. He is 100 percent fine. The parents are by the side with their son and the police are also with him.”

The case appeared to be the first ransom demand in South Africa made in virtual currency.

In March, US hackers demanding a ransom payable in bitcoin attacked computers of the Atlanta city government in the southern state of Georgia.

Police in South Africa, where violent crime is common, have reported a recent rise in kidnappings, although it is often wealthy business people who are targeted.