A manhunt is currently underway for a businessman that was kidnapped near his offices in Cape Town. According to some sources, a ransom of 50 Bitcoin has been demanded for the man’s return.
Police Reluctant to Confirm Rumours of Bitcoin Ransom Demands
According to a report in News24, Liyaqat Parker was kidnapped by five armed men at around 09:10 on Monday from his business in Parow, Capetown. Since then, rumours have circulated that a ransom has been made for his return.
The reports come from second local news source. Netwerk24 have reported that the ransom demand was made via email on Tuesday.
However, local police are reluctant to comment on the demands of 50 Bitcoin due to the “highly sensitive” nature of the case. Walid Brown, family spokesperson and lawyer, commented:
“I don’t have such information although I also saw the rumour.”
A spokesperson for the Western Cape police, Captain FC van Wyk added:
“This case is also investigated by our provincial detectives. Please bear with us as we cannot divulge details of the investigation that has yet to be presented before a court of law.”
Parker, 65, is a successful businessman in the Western Cape area. He is a founding member of the Food Property Group, as well as a member on the board at Al-Amien Foods. The kidnap victim also holds a high position at Brimstone Investment.
Family members made a heartfelt statement for their relative’s safe return on Tuesday afternoon:
“Our father and brother is an elderly man, so we also appeal to those who may be involved or know persons who may be connected with this crime, to just please release him unharmed before his health deteriorates.”
The plea continued, highlighting Parker’s commitment to his businesses, as well as local philanthropic causes. The statement mentioned his long-term involvement with the Children’s Hospital Association.
The Parker case isn’t the first incident of kidnapping involving a Bitcoin ransom in South Africa. In May of this year, NewsBTC reported on the case of 12-year-old Katlego Marite. In this example, those responsible demanded 15 Bitcoin be paid for the safe return of the youth. He was later returned to his family. Local police did not divulge the details of his return, however.
Elsewhere, crypto exchange employee Pavel Lerner was taken from outside his office in Kiev, Ukraine late last year. The demands of over $1 million in Bitcoin were met and Lerner was released three days after his ordeal began.