A first of its kind case in Pakistan, reveals that a gang of extortionists demanding Bitcoin have been arrested by Pakistan Police. The family has already paid US$17,500 of the more than $140,000 demanded.
Two suspects, Mohsin Abbas and Mohammad Arif have served as guards to a high court judge. Reports suggest deputy commissioner of the city’s telephone operator was also involved in this racket.
Other suspects named as Mohammad Tahir of Lahore and Sheikh Abdul Rauf of Faisalabad are the bitcoin traders and their job was to take care of the payments.
Prof Shahid Naseer, a local information technology teacher was kidnapped and his family was asked to pay the ransom of $140,000 in Bitcoin. Faisal Yousuf, who is said to be Naseer’s student, provides the connection between the gang and Naseer.
Naseer is safe and is with his family, said Rashid Hidayat, a representative of the local police. Rashid also said that Yousuf was believed to be the mastermind of this operation. Naseer was abducted and taken to Sheikhupura by a rented car. The suspects also used Abbas’s connections to the deputy commissioner, which helped them to replace the car’s number plates with government ones.
It seems likely, given the non-private nature of the payment method opted for, that Tahir and Rauf were first to be identified by authorities based on their known involvement with Bitcoin and crypto.
The authorities are now concerned that this type of payment method used by the kidnappers might inspire other extortion groups. Documenting the crime, the police state that this is the first ever known example of kidnappers demanding ransom for the release of a victim using Bitcoin as payment method.