31-year-old Singaporean, Kim Lee. has been detained by the Royal Thai Police for masterminding the kidnap of his friend, Mark Cheng Jin Quan during a business trip to Thailand, according to a report dated January 14.
Lee, who got acquainted with Cheng, the co-founder of Avelife, a non-governmental organization, via Bitcoin (BTC) dealings accompanied him in the trip which should have been in Thailand and Malaysia.
At their arrival in Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Cheng claimed Lee persuaded him to go to Thailand to negotiate a business deal with some locals, little did he know it was a plot to capture him.
On reaching a particular petrol kiosk, they stopped at Lee’s suggestion, from which they were allegedly kidnapped, blindfolded, beaten and drugged by a group of masked men.
Cheng claimed he was taken to four different locations in forested areas over the next 12 hours, saying “they took off my clothes, splashed ice water on me and gave me electric shocks. They demanded that I hand over US$1 million (S$1.3m) in Bitcoin.”
While he could only afford to give them 1.4 million baht (S$62,400) in BTC, Cheng claimed they were still going to execute him at gunpoint on hearing sounds of digging which he believed to be a grave.
“Fortunately, I know martial arts. I reached behind my head and grabbed the pistol, and then I fled,” he said. According to the Royal Thai Police spokesman, Colonel Krisana Pattanacharoen, Cheng was taken to the nearest police station by a good Samaritan on a January 10.
Lee, on the other hand, was arrested on January 12 in a Bangkok hotel after a manhunt. On Monday, the Royal Thai Police revealed that Lee was the alleged mastermind of the kidnapping and was charged with robbery, physical assault, illegal detention, and illegal possession of firearms.
Cheng while expressing dismay said “I didn’t expect my friend to be involved. I really don’t know who I can trust now.” He is expected to testify in Lee’s trial at a later date.