Bitcoin has been the word of the moment for some people who are looking to make investments. With a highly volatile market and high demand, the value of Bitcoin can be pretty staggering. But it also has a reputation, at least among mainstream consumers, for being a little bit sketchy, because Bitcoin has been associated with crime due to its untraceable nature.
That certainly proved itself to be true when a story of both intrigue, drama and terror unfolded upon one Singaporean man, as reported by Lianhe Wanbao.
In a story that stunned the nation, 32-year-old Mark Cheng Jin Quan, who is the co-founder of a non-governmental organisation as well as a blockchain adviser to fintech company X Infinity, fell victim to a scheme that seems to be something written straight out of a Hong Kong police drama.
Lured to Thailand by a friend, 31-year-old Kim Lee Yao Wei, who had claimed that he had an acquaintance there who wanted to find out more about Bitcoin, Mark didn’t think twice about booking a flight and eventually arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok on 9th January 2019.
Both Mark and Kim then boarded a private-hire car and were supposed to travel to meet Kim’s alleged acquaintance, when the car suddenly stopped at a petrol station. It was there when both him and his friend were abducted by four to five unknown assailants, dragging them into another car.
Mark was blindfolded, tied-up and drugged. A black hood was even looped over his head to prevent him from seeing anything.
But the worst was yet to come. According to the Chinese paper, Mark was driven 135km away from Bangkok to Kabin Buri, a district in Prachin Buri. This was where he was captured and subsequently tortured.
“They took off my clothes, splashed ice water on me and gave me electric shocks. They demanded that I hand over US$1 million (RM 4,060,100.00) in Bitcoin,” he said.
Without that much Bitcoin, he persuaded with his captors and handed over 1.4 million baht (RM 187,902.38) in Bitcoin to them. Even then, they were not satisfied and wanted to gun him down. After paying them, he was then dragged to a hut, and a gun was pointed at his head.
“One of them held the gun against the back of my head while the others stepped away.” he said, adding that he could hear the sound of soil being dug, which he assumed they were intending to use to bury him.
Yet in a dramatic turn of events, Mark managed to escape his captors against all odds and was found by a good Samaritan who then took him to the Ongkharak Police Station to lodge a report. Throughout the whole time, Mark said he was worried for his friend, Kim, who he thought was still being held captive.
Guess what? Kim was the mastermind behind this entire plot, and was arrested by Thai police. Wait, what?!
“I didn’t expect my friend to be involved. I really don’t know who I can trust now,”
It is said that Mark is currently housed in a police safehouse in Thailand, where he will stand in the trial against his friend.
With all these ups and downs, we have to say that Mr Cheng really did go through some death-defying circumstances that would be fit for a movie. We hope that the authorities manage to sort this whole mess out!
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