Abduction of Hong Kong toddler marks crime wave targeting crypto owners

Abduction of Hong Kong toddler marks crime wave targeting crypto owners
Home invasions are surging in Hong Kong as criminals seek crypto. Credit: Shutterstock / Shutterstock AI Generator
Asia Dispatch
  • Violent criminals are increasingly invading residences to force crypto owners to give up assets.
  • It's not just Hong Kong — US case revealed a 'robbery crew' targeting crypto in homes.
  • Kidnapped boy was freed after two suspected kidnappers were arrested.

Last week, Hong Kong police authorities arrested two 38-year-old women from mainland China for allegedly abducting a three-year-old boy.

The two grabbed him from a shopping mall in the neighbourhood of Tseung Kwan O on July 3 before demanding a ransom to be paid in USDT of US$660,000, according to a report in the Hong Kong Free Press.

Kwan King-pan, the Organised Crime and Triad Bureau’s Chief Superintendent, told reporters police had raided the apartment where the boy was being held the next day. He was freed and appeared to be unharmed, media reports said.

The official reminded the public that police are able to trace cryptocurrency.

“Some criminals have mistakenly thought that cryptocurrencies are harder to trace, but I stress the force is capable and determined on bringing them to justice,” Kwan said.

Attacks and kidnappings

The story marks the latest in a series of crypto-related attacks and kidnappings in the city and elsewhere.

At the end of March, a 19-year-old was lured to a hotel room in Hung Hom on the pretence of trading cryptocurrency, police said.

Upon arrival, he was accosted by a group of nine individuals who demanded he give them the HK$180,000 he had made in trading crypto.

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Two of the group then proceeded to beat him with baseball bats.

Few other details have been released, but the case is again being handled by detectives who specialise in triad, or organised crime, cases.

And in May, a 55-year-old crypto investor in Sheung Shui was abducted by four men. The men stopped her car and attacked her husband with a stun gun before kidnapping her.

She was released by her captors about an hour later. The abduction was linked to a $1.9 million crypto investment dispute.

Similar crimes are occurring outside Hong Kong, too.

‘Robbery crew’

Last month, a court in the US convicted Remy St Felix, 24, for leading a “robbery crew” targeting cryptocurrency owners in violent home invasions across four states.

In April 2023, St Felix, of West Palm Beach, Florida, and an accomplice “assaulted, zip-tied, and held the victim at gunpoint, and threatened more violence against the victim and the victim’s spouse, while other co-conspirators transferred more than $150,000 in cryptocurrency from the victim’s account,” according to the US Department of Justice.

Similar crimes have taken place in the Philippines targeting Chinese businessmen who have been kidnapped and held for ransoms payable in crypto.

Two men, Xia Kefu an and Sun Jing, were kidnapped in the country last month. On June 21, their families received calls demanding US$2 million in USDT for their release.

They were both found dead near Manila on June 27.

Several attendees at EthCC in Brussels this week also shared on X that they had been the victim of assaults.

Callan Quinn, DL News’ Hong Kong correspondent, covers the crypto industry in Asia. Have a tip? Contact the author at callan@dlnews.com.

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