In-person Tether Swap Turns into Bloody Kidnap Ordeal for USD 3M Crypto Trader
Bitcoin (BTC) holders are not the only ones in danger of kidnap attempts – stablecoin advocates are also falling victim to opportunistic attackers hoping to get their hands on these coins.
Per the Hong Kong-based media outlet Ta Kung Pao, criminals are continuing to target traders in over-the-counter (OTC), in-person trades – the latest attack involving a crypto trader with significant tether (USDT) funds was hospitalized after an attack, with seven people arrested.
Police said they were on the lookout for “at least seven or eight” other suspects in connection with the alleged crime.
In what the media outlet called a “shocking” case somewhat reminiscent of a recent incident in Spain, an unnamed “full-time” crypto trader (aged 39) with some USD 3.1m worth of tokens in wallets on exchanges, met with a person who was apparently posing as a bonafide crypto buyer in a deal to sell the latter USD 0.5m worth of USDT. The trader met the “buyer” at an industrial building unit in the Kowloon Bay of Hong Kong, where the victim was allegedly ambushed and taken to a separate residential area where they were “forced to surrender their mobile phone, online bank account login information and crypto exchange passwords.” The attackers appear to have used violence, repeatedly punching and kicking the victim and using “hammers and other tools” to inflict pain and injuries – leaving the trader with “multiple fractures on their hands and feet and serious physical injuries.”
The alleged kidnappers attempted to contact the victim’s family and extort a ransom fee of around USD 4.7m for the trader’s release. The family, police said, refused to pay, and on November 12, the trader managed to escape by crawling through a “narrow attic window.”
Police found the trader shortly after and entered the premises where the victim had been held, arresting two suspects on the spot.
Officers said the suspects (six men and one woman) all had “gang-related backgrounds,” and were variously unemployed, or worked in the catering, transportation, and auto industries.
The police arrested the group on charges of kidnapping and conspiracy to kidnap and stated that the victim had sustained “non-life-threatening injuries.”
However, the story may not have a happy ending: When the trader tried to access their trading platform account, they found that they had been locked out and that the password had been changed. It is possible, the media outlet concluded, “that all USD 3.1m [worth of coins] in the wallet” had already “been transferred away.”
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