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Crime in Hong Kong

Hong Kong bitcoin trader lured to bogus meeting and robbed of HK$1.4 million

Police are searching for five men, two who posed as sellers and three who attacked victim and took his bag

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 January, 2018, 1:35pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 February, 2018, 11:05pm

A citywide police search was under way on Friday for five men after a local bitcoin trader was lured to a bogus business meeting and robbed of HK$1.4 million (US$180,000) on a busy street in Hong Kong.

The five included two suspects who posed as sellers and arranged to meet the victim to trade bitcoin for cash, according to a police source.

“The other three attacked the victim and took his bag, containing cash and a mobile phone,” he said.

The attack happened in North Point, on Hong Kong Island.

As of just before noon on Friday, the five suspects were still on the run, according to police.

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The victim is a 34-year-old Hong Kong man surnamed Lee, who was contacted via his WeChat account on Thursday morning. He was asked to go to the Starbucks outlet on Hennessy Road, Wan Chai for a business meeting at 4.30pm.

“He was given an offer to buy five bitcoin at a five per cent discount off the market price, but was instructed that the transaction would be conducted in cash,” the source said.

Two men, thought to be aged between 20 and 40, met Lee in the coffee shop, but the transaction was not completed. The Post understands Lee was carrying HK$450,000 at the time.

The victim was told that the pair wanted to trade more bitcoin, and another meeting was arranged at a McDonald’s outlet in North Point at 9.30pm the same day.

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Lee took a bag containing HK$1.4 million to the fast food outlet on King’s Road, North Point at 9.40pm but failed to find the two “sellers”.

At about 10pm, he received a phone call from one of the men, who claimed they got lost and instructed Lee to meet them outside the State Theatre Building on King’s Road – about 100 metres away – instead.

“Soon after the victim left the outlet, he was attacked from behind by three masked men,” another source said. “One of them pushed him to the floor, and the others snatched his bag containing the cash and a mobile phone.”

Police said no weapon was used in the incident.

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The three robbers fled on foot and were seen turning onto North Point Road heading towards Provident Garden on Java Road. Officers scouted the area, but no arrests were made.

According to police, the victim suffered minor hand and leg injuries. He was bandaged at the scene but did not require hospital treatment.