Kidnappers demand bitcoin ransom, valued at R1.5m, for abducted teen

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Kathlego Marite. (Supplied)
Kathlego Marite. (Supplied)

It’s been days since a 13-year-old from Mpumalanga went missing and police are following every lead to catch the kidnappers who are allegedly demanding a ransom in bitcoin.

According to police spokesperson Brigadier Leonard Hlathi the teenage boy, Kathlego Marite, went missing in the afternoon of Sunday, 20 May while playing with two friends in Frangipani Street, Tasbetpark Extension 3, Witbank.

"A gold Toyota Corolla with three occupants stopped next to them. One of the men, dressed in black with a green jacket, grabbed the victim and dragged him to the vehicle before driving off with him," Hlathi says.

Kathlego’s friends ran to his mom and told her about the incident. She then reported it to the police.

Demands, through a letter, have since been made for the family to pay a ransom of "15 bitcoin (R1.5m), not in rands" to secure Kathlego’s release. The note also asked the family not to involve the police.

Hlathi couldn’t give further details because the matter is still under investigation.

According to Hlathi the family is going through trauma.

"They don’t even know what this bitcoin is. They’re devastated and you can see they’re worried and asking themselves, 'where’s our son?'"

Police are urging any person with information that might assist in this investigation to contact Captain Africa Nyathi on 071 352 6007 or call the SAPS Crime Stop number 08600 10111.

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