The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court ruled that Vietnamese residents – Ho Ngoc Tai and Tran Ngoc Hoang – will spend their lives in prison for kidnapping an individual and stealing $1.5 million worth of bitcoin from him.
14 other people who also participated in the crime received sentences between 9 and 19 years.
The 34-year-old Tai and the 40-year-old Hoang are them hit with a life sentence for orchestrating a sophisticated kidnapping and later extorting $1.5 million in BTC from the victim.
According to local law, digital assets are illegal in Vietnam, meaning that individuals or businesses cannot accept them as currency or means of payment. However, the defendants were able to convert the stolen BTC into VND18.8 billion (approximately $800,000). The court ruled that the criminals must pay the victim that amount.
Tai and Hoang are not the only people behind the movement. They were supported by 14 other colleagues, who will also be jailed. However, none of them will remain in prison for life, with sentences ranging from 9 to 19 years.
It is interesting to note that two of them – Nguyen Quoc Dung and Nguyen Anh Tuan – served as police officers a few years ago. The former was sentenced to 17 years, while the latter will remain in the correctional facility for 12 years.
as CryptoPotato reported last week, the saga began five years ago when Le Duc Nguyen advised Ho Ndoc Tai to sell 1,000 BTC (equivalent to more than $4 million at the time) so that he could buy other digital assets. The investment, however, did not turn out to be profitable, and Tai suggested that he had become the victim of a fraudulent scheme.
He assembled a gang in an attempt to recover his funds, using sophisticated methods to track Nguyen’s location. The team also rented a van, bought weapons, and kidnapped the target of the gun.
The criminals ordered the victim’s brother to transfer the original amount of 1,000 BTC to Tai’s wallet, but he could not give the full amount. Once $ 1.5 million in bitcoin was restored, they left the man in the town of Thu Duc: not far from Ho Chi Minh City.
However, the Vietnamese police, quickly noticed the crime and detained 16 suspects. While Tai initially admitted to running the operation, he later retracted his confession. On the other hand, his colleagues said that they thought they would only collect the victim’s debt and not participate in kidnapping.
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