Hong Kong police revealed on Sunday they have arrested seven suspects involved in a six-day kidnapping and beating of a cryptocurrency trader. The kidnappers, who were identified as local triad gang members, demanded HK$30 million (about US$3.85 million) for ransom.
Thirty-nine-year-old Ng Chor-to was abducted on Nov. 6 after visiting a buyer in Kowloon Bay he had met online to sell his Tether cryptocurrencies. When Ng entered an industrial unit with the buyer, a group of men assaulted and kidnapped him. He was taken to a container terminal the next morning, and then taken to a rural village house in Tai Po.
There, the victim suffered continuous beatings with hammers and metal chairs, even more so after he refused to contact his family to ask for the ransom, police said. The ransom, which was first set at HK$8 million, rose to HK$30 million after the group of men saw the amount of Tether Ng owned. He was forced to reveal the password to his bank and crypto trading accounts, which contained more than HK$20 million (US$2.56 million) worth of cryptocurrencies. Ng’s family, however, did not pay any amount.
Ng’s family reported his disappearance three days after he was abducted. Last Friday, just as the police raided the Tai Po house, Ng managed to escape, breaking through a window in the attic while the two men keeping an eye on the man went out to smoke. The police helped rescue the victim and arrested two men at the site. Ng has suffered severe injuries to his arms and legs, and was hospitalized after being rescued.
Deputy senior superintendent Alan Chung of the Kowloon West regional crime unit said at the press conference on Sunday that the police arrested five more people over the weekend who are likely involved with the kidnapping. This was also where it was revealed that the suspects are members of the triad group Sun Yee On.
Two of the suspects, Benny Li, 25, and Lau Man-ting, 27, have been charged with abduction. They were denied bail on Monday. Another member of the group is to appear in court today.
Tesa Ho, portfolio manager for Digital Asset Alpha, told Forkast.News why one might participate in a face-to-face transaction when a vast majority of trade happens online. “My guess is, it was someone trying to move cash out of China. Because [in Hong Kong] there are OTC (over-the-counter) desks that would handle the same transaction but they require KYC (know-your-customer),” Ho said.
Hong Kong police warned residents to use credible crypto trading platforms and to avoid meeting strangers for face-to-face transactions, pointing out that some criminals may use different excuses to set up face-to-face meetings for crypto transactions.