Crypto & Blockchain News

Vietnamese Man Accused of Stealing $1.5 Million in Crypto and Kidnapping Up for Trial

The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court has summoned 16 Vietnamese suspects in the $1.5 million crypto robbery and kidnapping. Oddly enough, two of the suspects are ex-policemen.

Vietnam is one of the world leaders in Bitcoin adoption. Despite the growing popularity of the asset class, the government has yet to establish a legal structure over it.

According to local media outlets, the whole saga started in 2018 when Le Duc Nguyen encouraged Ho Ngoc Tai to sell around 1,000 BTC (worth around $4.2 million) to buy other digital currencies.

Regardless, the investment doesn’t turn out as expected, leading Tai to feel he is a victim of a cryptocurrency scam. He couldn’t accept the loss and formed a team in May 2020 to reclaim the asset.

The group of 16 members (two former police officers) tracked Nguyen’s movements using the GPS tracker installed in his vehicle. The group rents a van, buys realistic guns, and kidnaps victims at gunpoint.

The team ordered that Nguyen’s brother transfer the original $1,000 BTC to Tai’s wallet while he was in their custody. The gang, however, admitted that relatives did not have the required amount and recovered “only” $1.5 million in cryptocurrency. The victim was then left near Thu Duc, about 15 kilometers north of Ho Chi Minh City.

Tai and 15 suspected accomplices were recently tried by a Vietnamese city law enforcement officer. It is important to mention that the mastermind of the operation initially admitted to being behind the crime. During the investigation, he changed his mind about his confession. Additional defendants, for their part, stated that they believed Tai would have normally collected loans from Nguyen rather than kidnap him.

Asian countries often come out on top in studies on Bitcoin acceptance. According to Chainalysis, a blockchain service provider, Vietnam will be the top in the world in the industry by September 2022, with a score of 1,000. According to the company, 21% of residents have used or owned a digital currency at some point.

“Vietnam Crypto Market Report 2022,” published in March this year, revealed that the fixed asset class is very popular within the country’s borders. According to research, 17% of Vietnamese (or around 16.6 million people) are HODLers. Nearly a third of those surveyed have invested in Bitcoin.

According to the survey, Vietnam is second only to Thailand in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) regarding crypto acceptance.

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