Despite of the recent downturns in value and a volatile market that has been taking place for months, there is widespread interest in Bitcoin, and it is still arguably the most valuable digital asset in the world. People remember that, whilst it is being traded currently at less than $3,900, it holds the potential to increase its price in the blink of an eye.
Sadly, that widespread interest has made Bitcoin an object of desire for hackers and even regular criminals. This week, it was reported that a man in the Netherlands (identified as Tjeerd H, 38 years old) was kidnapped and tortured in front of his little daughter, and the trader’s cryptocurrency holdings are believed to be the primary motive behind the cruel scene.
The Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf indicates that the person was threatened, tortured, and seriously injured because of the criminals. Reportedly, they were three thieves, and they entered the man’s house disguised as police officers. There were threats of gun fire, and the thieves caused the trader severe damage with a heavy drill.
An Hour and a Half of Extreme Pain
The suffering, pain, and highstress levels lasted for about an hour and a half, which is the time that the criminals spent in the man’s house. After that, they left and they are still wanted by the police and law enforcement agencies in the Netherlands. The case is now being investigated, and the Dutch police are working to gather every detail.
Since the case has been allocated to the branch of the police in charge of investigating murders, the seriousness of the events is unquestioned. As of the moment of writing this piece, there was no evidence that the man’s crypto holdings were stolen.
The publication conducted its own investigation to conclude that the victim was, in fact, a cryptocurrency trader, a piece of information that was later confirmed by the police. The house, located in Drenthe, had been acquired by the man in cash. According to reports, he worked in Thailand and Italy.
Criminals, especially in the Netherlands, are now targeting Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies holders. De Telegraaf describes another recent case in the nation, in which a man from the city of Enschede went to jail for laundering a significant amount of money worth of Bitcoin. Not only are cyber thieves targeting crypto holders, but they also are laundering money using BTC.
Other Known Cases
When Bitcoin was near its all-time high, in December 2017, a man named Louis Meza was accused of kidnapping a victim with the use of a gun with the intention of obtaining the other person’s keys to his digital wallet. In that day, Meza stole $1.8 million worth of Ether.
District attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr said at the time that “this case demonstrates the increasingly common intersection between cyber and violent crime.” Reports indicated that Meza was familiarized with the victim and the fact that he held crypto. “We can expect this type of crime to become increasingly common as cryptocurrency values surge upward,” Vance observed.
Also in December 2017, Pavel Lerner, which is a Bitcoin exchange executive, suffered a similar fate and was kidnapped in Ukraine. The criminals asked for a $1 million ransom payment in Bitcoin, which was performed. The police is still investigating the crime.
In January 2018, two British BTC traders were robbed. Between them, they had performed more than 100,000 crypto trades, and the criminals made them transfer their crypto balances to them. Similar cases took place in Taiwan (February 2018) and France (October 2018.)
By Andres Chavez