According to the Hindustan Times (India) eight police officers have been arrested by the Gujarat Criminal Investigations Department (GCID), with two eventually being charged for the extortion of 200 Bitcoins from a Surat businessman.
The report by the Hindustan Times refers to the extortion being delivered through a random to set the businessman free, suggesting that the business man was physically held hostage until he paid out.
The GCID have not yet found any evidence of a Bitcoin transfer (due to the nature of the blockchain, obviously) but do have a wealth of evidence to support claims of abduction, hostage taking and an initial ransom demand.
This event allegedly took place in February 2018, when the price of Bitcoin reached a value of around $11,000, putting the 200 Bitcoin ransom at a value estimated to be around $2,200,000 at the time of capture. Upon his release, the business man approached the GCID on the 23rd of February, further reinforcing this price estimation.
This is a shocking turn of events and seems to have been carried out as a result of a meticulously planned capture. It poses the question of safety when it comes to digital assets and also poses a question of safety within the blockchain. Criminals can make the most of anonymity as well.
To see such extortion, happen on a level in which representatives of the law are involved is not something one would expect to see, but this highlights just how vulnerable holders of cryptocurrency can be. In the same way cash and valuable possessions can make people a potential target, the holding and retaining of even digital assets can be exploited.
What this tells us is that your own safety and security is paramount, especially in areas where reports of extortion and corruption are high. Not just in terms of your digital safety, but your physical safety too.
This comes at a bleak time for the Indian cryptocurrency community and mounts up as just one more news story, tarnishing the reputation of cryptocurrency within the nation.