11 July 2018

South Africa: Kidnapped Cape Town Businessman Still Missing As Report Emerges of R50 Million Bitcoin Ransom Demand

As the manhunt continues for those who kidnapped Cape Town businessman Liyaqat Parker this week, a report have emerged that they have since contacted his family to demand that a R50m ransom in Bitcoin.

"I don't have such information although I also saw the rumour," family spokesperson and attorney Walid Brown told News24 on Wednesday.

This was as Netwerk24 reported that the kidnappers made the demand for the hefty ransom via email on Tuesday, according to sources.

Asked to confirm whether the ransom demand was true, Western Cape police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk said there were no new developments to report about "this highly-sensitive case".

He said the investigation was yet to be finalised and that their officers were giving the case their due attention.

"This case is also investigated by our provincial detectives. Please bear with us as we cannot divulge details of the investigation that has yet to be presented before a court of law."

Family appeal

Bitcoin is a global cryptocurrency which is hard to trace.

When a teenage boy was kidnapped outside his home in eMalahleni in Mpumalanga in May, his kidnappers also demanded a ransom of 15 Bitcoin, equivalent to around R1.5m then.

Parker, 65, was allegedly kidnapped by five unknown and armed men around 09:10 at his business in Fairway Close in N1 City, Parow, on Monday.

He is a founding member of the Food Property Group.

He is a board member of Al-Amien Foods and a non-executive board member of Brimstone Investment.

His family members appealed for him to be released as soon as possible.

"Our father and brother is an elderly man, so we also appeal to those who may be involved or know persons who may be connected with this crime, to just please release him unharmed before his health deteriorates," they said in a statement on Tuesday afternoon.

"Liyaqat is a devoted family man, a known astute businessman who built up the business through sheer hard work over many years, a community worker and philanthropist, having served as a member of The Friends of the Children's Hospital Association for several years."

Police indicated on Tuesday that detectives were following up all leads and were "working around the clock" to find him, as experts combed the area, where he was last seen, for clues.

Source: News24

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