A Vietnamese court sentenced two individuals to life imprisonment over a violent cryptocurrency theft, The Star reported May 16.
Ho Ngoc Tai and Tran Ngoc Hoang were found guilty of stealing cryptocurrency worth 37 billion Vietnamese đồng ($1.5 million).
Fourteen other individuals received prison sentences ranging from nine to 19 years. Two of those individuals were former police officers, the report said.
The crime stemmed from an incident in 2018 in which Tai followed the advice of the victim, Le Duc Nguyen. Tai sold Bitcoin after Nguyen suggested he should invest in other cryptocurrencies; Tai then lost money on those investments.
Believing that he had been deceived, Tai worked with 15 others to steal cryptocurrency from Nguyen in a plot that involved stalking, kidnapping, and threats of HIV infection. Nyugen and his wife and children were all targeted in the scheme; Nyguen’s brother was also contacted but did not surrender any crypto.
Those involved in the crime must now pay 18.8 billion Vietnamese đồng to the victim. The stolen cryptocurrency has reportedly been converted to local currency because it is not a legal form of payment in Vietnam.
Despite cryptocurrency’s lack of legal status in Vietnam, the country is among the world’s top crypto adopters. Reports from Chainalysis in 2022 said the country ranked first on various metrics, above the Philippines and Ukraine.
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