Kidnap leader sought by cops and triads

Top News | Michael Shum 24 Nov 2021

Police and triads alike are hunting for the mastermind behind the kidnapping of a cryptocurrency trader.

This comes as triads have turned to cryptocurrency trading for mainland speculators after China banned its trade in May, which will prompt more crimes in the SAR, Eastweek magazine says.

The 39-year-old cryptocurrency trader, held for almost a week and tortured with a hammer, was rescued on November 12 in a Tai Po village.

The kidnappers demanded a HK$30 million ransom from his family - who brought in the police - and hammered his arms and legs to prevent him from escaping. Seven kidnappers were rounded up from November 12 and 14.

The mastermind is understood to have stolen HK$20 million worth of cryptocurrencies after getting hold of the victim's password.

Eastweek, The Standard's sister publication, quoted a source from the underworld for its information that the mastermind is sought on both sides of the law.

The source said triad revenue had nosedived during the pandemic so one way to change that was to help mainlanders trade cryptocurrencies and earn millions in fees for each exchange.

The mastermind, a Sun Yee On triad member, is said to have befriended a wealthy mainland speculator, helping with trades here in cryptocurrencies after the ban in May. He was chosen by his gang to act as an agent of mainlanders to help them with such trades here and earned millions from each trade, which went to his gang.

He is said to have known about the kidnap victim online as he was helping a mainland speculator trade Tether tokens with the victim.

The mastermind found out the victim still has a lot of Tether tokens, and so helped his client buy a lot of cryptocurrencies from the victim.

"He and the victim met a few times, and have successfully traded cryptocurrencies worth more than HK$3 million," the source said. "Maybe someone saw the victim dress nicely, driving a nice automobile, and so the mastermind kidnapped him while also pocketing the HK$4 million belonging to the mainland client originally used to trade for cryptocurrencies."

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