On Wednesday, Vietnamese media reported that the People’s Court of Ho Chi Minh City brought 16 suspects to trial in a case that involved kidnapping and stolen crypto. Reportedly, Ho Ngoc Tai, Tran Ngoc Hoang, alongside a group of accomplices took 35 billion VND (~$1.5 million) in crypto from the victim named Le Duc Nguyen.
According to media reports, the incident goes back to 2018 when Ho Ngoc Tai sold about 1,000 Bitcoins, equivalent to VND 100 billion, to invest in other cryptocurrencies following the advice of Nguyen.
However, his investment tanked but Tai believed that Nguyen had fooled him and wanted a refund. Then Tai hired other individuals to find the whereabouts of Nguyen and simultaneously planned a crypto robbery in May 2020.
Notably, two of the members in Tai’s newly formed group were former police officers. These ex-officers used GPS trackers on the victim’s car to keep updates on his whereabouts. Sources reveal that the accused hired a van and also purchased real-looking guns to scare Nguyen into paying him back.
According to the investigation and testimonies, on the night of the robbery, one of the gang members purposely crashed his motorbike into the vehicle being driven by Nguyen. Then once Nguyen got out to check on the situation, the other members kidnapped him, forcing him into the van at gunpoint.
The group then blackmailed the victim to ask his brother to transfer the original amount of 1,000 Bitcoins to Tai. After Nguyen repeatedly told them that his brother didn’t have it and showed them evidence, Tai took his mobile phone and forcibly transferred around VND 35 billion worth of crypto. Then the group abandoned the victim in the city of Thu Duc.
Notably, the Vietnamese are favorably looking up to cryptocurrencies given the increasing stats of crypto adoption. According to the Vietnam Crypto Market Report 2022, nearly 17 million people in Vietnam are said to be cryptocurrency owners.
Another report suggests that one in five of its residents hold cryptocurrencies making it the second-highest-ranked ASEAN nation in crypto adoption terms after Thailand. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a regional grouping that aims to promote economic and security cooperation among its ten members: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
However, in the Chainalysis 2022 Global Crypto Adoption Index, an annual study of 140 nations with the highest crypto adoption, the leading places were backed by Vietnam and the Philippines. The highest usage of cryptocurrency-related tools, products, and services among other countries was recorded by Vietnamese consumers, who have been regarded as the biggest adopters of cryptocurrencies for the past two years.
As the crypto market continues to rise at such a fast pace it is important to note that the responsibility to safeguard the sector increases too. The increasing crimes have been a nightmare to the regulators as well as the investors. Blockchain security firm Peck Shield reported that hackers stole $93.4 million from 41 exploits on various crypto projects in April.
Just a few days ago, the Philippine National Police rescued 1,090 people from several Asian nations who were trafficked into the country. Notably, the police also found these individuals to be related to crypto scams. Reportedly, the victims were mostly Vietnamese (389) and Chinese (307), Filipinos, Indonesians, and Malaysians were also enticed into running online crypto scams.