The bomber of a mall on the outskirts of Jakarta, Indonesia, attempted to extort 100 bitcoins from the mall and was inspired by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), say police.
According to local media reports, Leopard Wisnu Kumala was allegedly responsible for the bombing last week that injured one person in the Alam Sutera Mall in Tangerang. He allegedly planted the bomb in a toilet, which exploded at around noon on Wednesday.
CCTV footage showed him carrying a bag into a washroom at the mall and exiting shortly before the blast.
It was allegedly the fourth bomb he planted at the mall since July. His first attempt resulted in an explosion and the other two did not. Police commented that there were similarities between the latest and previous attempts.
After he planted last week’s bomb, he contacted the mall and demanded 100 bitcoins, at the time worth approximately 400 million rupiah, or $30,000 (USD/IDR = 13,600). Interestingly, the mall’s management responded by sending him approximately 1/400 of this amount, or 0.25 BTC.
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Bitcoin is the go-to currency for extortionists looking to avoid apprehension or seizure of their winnings, due to its decentralization from financial authority and perceived anonymity.
The 29-year old assailant reportedly worked in the IT department at a company near the mall. He was arrested at his home a few hours after the explosion.
His motives were reportedly both economic and ideological. He was reportedly 20 million rupiah in debt for his home, motorcycle and credit cards, and his wife had asked him to buy a car.
He also reportedly admitted to police that he was inspired by ISIS following recent media reports of the conflict in Syria, as well as by another Jakarta-area mall bombing in February. Police believe that the attempted bombings are connected with ISIS, not with the homegrown al-Qaeda-affiliated Jemaah Islamiyah.
Police blamed the February incident on Indonesians returning from fighting alongside ISIS. The incident employed the use of a low-powered chlorine bomb, the variety often used by ISIS militants.
The Jakarta police chief, Tito Karnavian, said in a statement that the attacker sowed fear amongst the public. As such, he will be charged in accordance with a 2003 anti-terrorism law, which carries a maximum sentence of the death penalty.