Vietnamese Residents Accused of $1.5 Million Crypto Theft and Kidnapping to Face Justice (Report)



The People’s Court of Ho Chi Minh City reportedly brought to court 16 Vietnamese who might stand behind a $1.5 million crypto robbery and kidnapping. Interestingly, two of the defendants are former police officers.

Vietnam is one of the global leaders in terms of cryptocurrency adoption. Despite its rising popularity, the government has not imposed a legal framework on the asset class.

The Movie Like Story

According to a local media outlet, the whole drama started in 2018 when Le Duc Nguyen advised Ho Ngoc Tai to sell around 1,000 BTC (valued at approximately $4.2 million at the time) to purchase other digital currencies.

Nonetheless, the investment did not go as planned, making Tai believe he had become a victim of a crypto scam. He could not accept the loss and assembled a team in May 2020 whose goal was to steal the assets back.

The entity, consisting of 16 people (including two former police officers), tracked Nguyen’s whereabouts using GPS devices installed on his vehicle. The individuals hired a van, bought realistic weapons, and kidnapped the target at gunpoint.

While in their custody, the team insisted Nguyen’s bother transfers the original amount of 1,000 BTC to Tai’s wallet. However, the gang realized that his relative did not have the requested amount and restored “only” $1.5 million worth of crypto. The victim was later abandoned in the city of Thu Duc: about 15 kilometers north of Ho Chi Minh City’s center.

The law enforcement agencies of the Vietnamese city recently brought to trial Tai and his 15 alleged accomplices. It is worth noting that the mastermind of the operation was initially admitted to standing behind the crime. However, he reversed his confession during the process of investigation. For their part, the remaining defendants said they thought Tai would collect the debt from Nguyen normally and not via kidnapping.

Vietnamese are Fond of Crypto

The Asian country often tops studies that are focused on cryptocurrency adoption. The blockchain service provider – Chainalysis – estimated in September 2022 that Vietnam is the world’s leader in that field with a score of 1.000. The company further suggested that 21% of the locals have used or owned digital currencies at some point during their lives.

The “Vietnam Crypto Market Report 2022,” released in March this year, showed that the asset class continues to be highly popular inside the country’s borders. According to the research, 17% of Vietnamese (around 16.6 million people) are HODLers. Nearly a third of those have invested in bitcoin.

The report claimed that Vietnam ranks second to Thailand in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in terms of crypto adoption.

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