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Saturday, Oct 08, 2022

Cryptocurrency trader in HK$30 million kidnap case escapes

A cryptocurrency trader who had been kidnapped for almost a week managed a dramatic escape after he was tortured with a hammer and suffered multiple fractures on his arms and legs.
A gang of seven, including a female, were arrested between last Friday and Sunday for kidnapping the 39-year-old victim and asking his family to pay a ransom of HK$30 million.

The victim, who sustained multiple fractures on his arms and legs, managed to escape through a window of a metal hut in Nam Hang Tsuen rural village in northern Tai Po last Friday (Nov 12). He was later rushed to a hospital, and was said to have undergone his second surgery on Sunday night.

On the morning of November 6, the cryptocurrency trader was lured to Kowloon Bay by a buyer he met online, who is interested in buying Tether cryptocurrency for HK$4 million.

The victim was then taken to a unit of an industrial building nearby, where several men inside assaulted him with a hammer and an iron bars, severely injuring him and kidnapped him.

The kidnappers forced the victim to give them his mobile phones, as well as passwords to his online banking account and cryptocurrency trading platforms. They also demanded the victim contact his family and friends for ransom by lying to them that he was in debt.

The kidnappers originally asked for HK$8 million but the ransom was increased to HK$30 million later. The police said the victim’s family did not pay any ransom.

The victim was transported to an unknown container terminal via a private car November 7 midnight. He was later taken to a metal hut in Nam Hang Tsuen November 8 midnight. The victim’s family reported to the police the next day. Police began their investigation on November 10, and identified the location where the victim was held.

On Friday night, the victim escaped from a window of the unit. Officers who were laying an ambush immediately rescued him and raided the hut, arresting two kidnappers there.

Five more kidnappers were arrested upon subsequent investigations on Saturday and Sunday. The victim is said to have made a transaction with one of the kidnappers a few weeks prior.

All of the seven, aged between 25 and 32, are members of the notorious Sun Yee On triad society, according to the police. Of the seven, two claimed to work in the transportation sector, one claimed to work in the catering industry and one worked in the car detailing sector. The remaining three claimed to be unemployed.

They were arrested for suspicion of kidnapping and conspiracy to kidnap from November 12 to 14 in Tai Po, Sheung Shui, Cheung Sha Wan and Kwun Tong. Two of the male kidnappers, aged 25 and 27, were charged with a count of kidnapping and will appear in the Kowloon City Magistrates' Courts on Monday. The other five were being detained for further investigations as of 9pm Sunday.

Deputy senior superintendent Alan Chung Nga-lun of the Kowloon West regional crime unit said the force is looking for the mastermind and other kidnappers involved, and believed seven to eight people were on the run.

As the victim had handed over the password of his cryptocurrency account, he now could not access the account to check the balance, but the police believed the victim would suffer some losses.

“We have noticed that there is a rising trend of cryptocurrency transactions. Meanwhile some gangsters use various excuses and request a face-to-face transaction,” Chung said.

He also appealed to citizens to conduct transactions through trustworthy online platforms and avoid face-to-face transactions with strangers.

According to the Offences against the Person Ordinance, anyone who detains a person against their will to procure a ransom shall be guilty of an offense and could face a life sentence upon conviction.

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