Seven arrested over kidnap of crypto investor

Police on Sunday said they have arrested seven people in connection with a kidnapping of a man caught up in a cryptocurrency investment scam.

Officers said the 39-year-old victim showed up in Kowloon Bay on November 6 to meet a buyer he met online to sell the digital currency, Tether.

The male buyer later lured the victim into a unit in an industrial building in the area to complete the transaction.

Police say a gang of men beat the victim severely, and attacked him with hammers and metal chairs.

The kidnappers also forced the victim to surrender his mobile phone, and the passwords for his online banking and trading platform accounts. He was also forced to call his family and friends to ask them to pay a ransom, officers said.

The force said the victim was taken blind-folded to a container terminal by car in the early hours of November 7. He was brought to a remote squatter hut in Nam Hang Tsuen in Tai Po at night on the same day, and was again attacked.

On November 9, three days after the victim had been kidnapped, his family called the police.

Officers said the victim had managed to escape on November 12, and they arrested two people in the area the same day. Police arrested five more people in the next two days.

The seven suspects, including six men and a woman, are aged between 25 and 32. Two suspects have been charged and will appear in court on Monday.

Officers said the kidnappers had initially asked the victim’s family to pay a ransom of $8 million, and later raised the amount to $30 million, but added the family did not pay any amount.

The victim suffered multiple serious leg and hand fractures and is being treated in hospital.

The force said investigations are ongoing and more people may be arrested.

It also said investors should trade cryptocurrencies on trustworthy platforms, and they should avoid face-to-face trading with strangers.