The South China Morning Post has reported that 33-year-old Singaporean businessman Mark Cheng was captured and held for ransom during a recent business trip to Thailand.
The young cryptocurrency consultant was allegedly abducted by a Thai actor who was known to him. The individual blindfolded Cheng and took him away to a “deserted place”.
Cheng was allegedly assaulted and his captors threatened to execute him, even after the ransom had been paid.
Local police have apprehended the unknown actor, who according to other sources was the owner of the vehicle used in the kidnapping.
The actor is currently being questioned, but Cheng states at least three more assailants remain at large.
Cheng claims he was tortured by his captors and ordered to pay his ransom in Bitcoin. The kidnappers allegedly forced him to transfer $742,000 in BTC before he managed to escape on Friday night.
However, Singaporean news outlet The New Post has reported that he paid just $60,000 to his captors.
Cheng told the news outlet that his captors had firearms and began digging a grave for him. Allegedly, he used his knowledge of martial arts to fend off and flee his attackers.
He managed to attract the attention of a passerby who took him to a local police station in the Nakhon Nayok Ongkharak district.
With Cheng’s history of fraud, it is not being ruled out by authorities that the event may have been orchestrated for some unknown reason by Cheng or his close associates.
Business disputes and fraud
Thai police have speculated that the kidnapping may have been the result of an ongoing business dispute between the two men.
Cheng is being investigated for misappropriating funds worth $300,000 from a group of investors he worked with in 2014, and at the time of his kidnapping was on bail for his role in the fraud.
More recently, Cheng has been working as an advisor to Singaporean blockchain start-up ‘X Infinity’, which lists the young businessman as having nine years’ experience in venture capital and commercialisation.
The New Post says that Cheng is “facing cheating charges” in Singapore, and it’s currently unknown whether he will be forced to return to Singapore for his court hearing on February 3.
It’s unclear how much of Cheng’s story is true or accurate given his extraordinary circumstances and pending charges. Cheng will give evidence against his captors once the trial date is set.