The kidnappers demanded 20 bitcoins, estimated to be about BZ$251,103.16, for the San Narciso businessman’s life
BELIZE CITY, Mon. June 25, 2018– Omero Campos, 43, a businessman of San Narciso, Corozal District, whose family learned that he had been kidnapped on Father’s Day after he had gone missing, apparently is still being held by his kidnappers. This kidnapping case has had police baffled to the point where they have been reluctant to make comments to the media.
The Campos kidnapping saga took on a new, dangerous twist when the purported kidnappers made a bold demand today via an email that they sent to two media houses, News5 and Breaking Belize News, demanding 20 bitcoins (about BZ$251,103.16 at current rates) for Campus’ release.
Bitcoins are a form of electronic currency and has been described by Wikipedia (an online information source) as “the first decentralized digital currency.” Last year, a study by the University of Cambridge estimated that there are about 5 million bitcoins users around the world.
The email from the purported kidnappers said in bold capital letters: “WE CHANGED TACTICS AND THIS WILL BE THE ONLY MODE OF COMMUNICATION TO FREE OMERO [Homero].
“We have Omero Campos, who is safe and sound. We are tired of keeping and feeding him. He is safe and sound for now, but lives on borrowed time. We will not contact you again if we don’t see 20 bitcoins within 48 hours.
“Send 20 bitcoins to 12HLyHFFQ23LsXaq6N7czz9sEmXPKoFUXa.
“STRICT WARNING: POLICE SHOULD NOT TRY ANY RESCUE OPERATION, ANY SLIGHT DETECTION, WE WILL KILL HIM AND HE WILL DIE A PAINFUL DEATH. CONFIRM NOW.”
“WAITING,” the kidnappers’ message ends.
At today’s police press briefing, the police had no new information to provide to the media about the kidnapping.
“Bitcoins transactions are verified by network nodes through cryptography and recorded in a public distributed ledger called a block chain,’ states Wikipedia.
The demand for payment in bitcoins suggests a certain level of sophistication that may not be local.