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  • Violent criminals are increasingly breaking into private homes to force crypto owners to hand over their assets.
  • It’s not just about Hong Kong – a case in the US revealed a “gang of robbers” targeting cryptocurrencies in private homes.
  • The kidnapped boy was released after two suspected kidnappers were arrested.

Last week, Hong Kong police authorities arrested two 38-year-old women from mainland China on suspicion of kidnapping a three-year-old boy.

The two kidnapped him from a shopping mall in the Tseung Kwan O district on July 3 and then demanded a ransom of $660,000 in USDT, according to a report in the Hong Kong Free Press.

Kwan King-pan, chief commissioner of the Organized Crime and Triads Bureau, told reporters that police searched the apartment where the boy was being held the next day. He was released and appeared unharmed, media reports said.

The official reminded the public that the police have the ability to track down cryptocurrencies.

“Some criminals have mistakenly believed that cryptocurrencies are harder to detect, but I stress that the police are capable and determined to bring them to justice,” Kwan said.

Attacks and kidnappings

The story is 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 into a hotel room in Hung Hom under the pretext of trading cryptocurrencies, police said.

Upon his arrival, he was approached by a group of nine people who demanded that he hand over the HK$180,000 he had earned from trading cryptocurrencies.

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Two of the group then beat him with baseball bats.

Few further details have been released, but the case is being re-investigated by investigators specializing in triad or organized crime cases.

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

About an hour later, she was released by her captors. The kidnapping was related to a dispute over a $1.9 million crypto investment.

Similar crimes also occur outside Hong Kong.

“Band of robbers”

Last month, a US court convicted 24-year-old Remy St Felix of leading a “gang of robbers” that targeted cryptocurrency owners in violent break-ins across four states.

In April 2023, St. Felix of West Palm Beach, Florida, and an accomplice “assaulted the victim, bound her with zip ties and held her at gunpoint, and threatened the victim and her spouse with further violence while other co-conspirators transferred over $150,000 worth of cryptocurrency from the victim's account,” according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Similar crimes occurred in the Philippines, where Chinese businessmen were kidnapped and held for ransom in cryptocurrencies.

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 for their release.

They were both found dead near Manila on June 27.

Several participants of the EthCC in Brussels also told X this week that they had been victims of attacks.

Callan Quinn, DL News' Hong Kong correspondent covering the crypto industry in Asia. Do you have a tip? Contact the author at [email protected].

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