HomeNewsBriefKidnap Cyber Crime Techniques Spread to Bolivia
BRIEF

Kidnap Cyber Crime Techniques Spread to Bolivia

BOLIVIA / 26 FEB 2014 BY MICHAEL LOHMULLER EN

Authorities in Bolivia have arrested a group of kidnappers that hacked computers to gain information on victims and demanded exorbitant ransoms, an unusual case in a country not known for kidnapping or cyber crime.

The special investigative unit (CEIP) of the Bolivian police arrested four people in La Paz accused of kidnapping at least 17 people and demanding individual ransoms of up to $200,000 from victim's families, reported La Razon. The arrests follow three months of police investigation into the group.

Police commander General Walter Villarpando said the group would plan the kidnappings for at least two weeks, investigating each victim and their assets with the help of a computer hacker. Following the kidnapping, they would call the victim's family, identify themselves as working for Colombian hitmen, and demand payment.

The ring's leader, an evangelical pastor, said during questioning the group had been robbing the rich to give to the poor, despite only the kidnappers' families receiving money.

Authorities said that while no victims were injured, most did not report the crime for fear of reprisals.

InSight Crime Analysis

While kidnapping is a common crime in other Latin American nations -- especially Venezuela and Mexico -- it is not a major problem in Bolivia, although other cases have been reported in the past year.

This case is also notable for two other reasons: first, the amount of money demanded, which was extremely high -- in comparison, one Mexican group dismantled in 2011 charged under $4,000; second, for the use of technology to aid the crime. Using social media or hacking software to gain information on kidnap victims is a common facet of cyber crime and its use in this case indicates the operation was somewhat sophisticated.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Kidnapping

The Andean nation, like others in Latin America, is ill-equipped to deal with cyber crime, having no specific legal framework to criminalize and punish it, and even shutting down the security forces Computer Crimes Division in 2008, according to Global Information Society Watch, an NGO that monitors cyber security around the world.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

HAITI / 6 JUL 2022

UN staff and diplomats may be being targeted for kidnapping in Haiti, specifically so police can use international outcry to…

KIDNAPPING / 26 AUG 2021

The ongoing search for members of Mexico’s Yaqui Indigenous community, missing for well over a month, has become a rallying…

HAITI / 23 MAR 2022

A wave of violence has rocked the small Haitian town of Croix-des-Bouquets, shining a light on how this strategic area…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…