Child who was kidnapped for bitcoin is found

A Mpumalanga child who was kidnapped by a gang who demanded a ransom in bitcoin of nearly R1.5 million has been found, the TimesLive online news site said on Thursday, quoting police.

Katlego Marite, 13, was dragged into a car while playing on Sunday with two friends near his home in Witbank, a town in the eastern province of Mpumalanga. Police on Wednesday said the family had not even heard of the cryptocurrency. TimesLive quoted police spokesman Leonard Hlathi as saying “he has been found”. There was no immediate comment from police.

Police say there has been a rise in kidnappings but this is the apparently the first demand for a ransom in bitcoin.

In December, kidnappers in Ukraine received a ransom worth more than $1 million in bitcoins for releasing their victim – an employee of a British cryptocurrency exchange.