2 women arrested over allegedly abducting 3-year-old boy in HK

Hong Kong police have arrested two women over allegedly abducting a three-year-old boy from a shopping mall for a ransom of more than HK$5 million in cryptocurrency.

An image that appears to be a screengrab of surveillance footage showing a boy is taken away by a masked person on July 3, 2024. Photo: Internet.

The boy was rescued by the police from a housing estate in Tseung Kwan O at 5.25 am on Thursday after being kidnapped from the nearby TKO Plaza shopping mall on Wednesday afternoon, according to local media reports.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Chief Superintendent Kwan King-pan of the police force’s Organised Crime and Triad Bureau said two 38-year-old women had been arrested, who told police they were unemployed. They were apprehended during a break-in to rescue the boy, who appeared unharmed and was sent to hospital for observation.

The two women were Chinese nationals, Kwan said, adding that one held a Hong Kong ID card and the other was visiting the city on a travel permit.

“We do not rule out the possibility of people committing the offence because of financial difficulties,” Kwan said in Cantonese.

Kwan said police had received a report from a woman at around 4.30 pm on Wednesday, claiming that her son had been abducted and that a note had been left warning against calling the police and asking for a ransom.

Hong Kong Police. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.Hong Kong Police. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.
Hong Kong Police Force. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

According to images shared widely online on Wednesday that appeared to show messages sent to the victim, a ransom of 660,000 USDT, the code for cryptocurrency Tether, was demanded, about equivalent to HK$5.15 million.

Kwan said one of the suspects had forcibly taken the boy away and put him in a stroller before going to a nearby park, where the pair transferred the boy into a large suitcase and took him to a residential unit.

The residential unit was leased by the suspect with a Hong Kong ID, he added.

Kwan said that while the boy’s mouth had been covered to prevent him from calling for help, there was no evidence to suggest he had been drugged.

The senior policeman also said the offence had been planned as the pair had prepared a stroller and suitcase, but investigations had yet to reveal a link between the pair and the victim.

The pair would be detained overnight for further inquiry and could be charged with kidnapping on Friday, Kwan said.

He added that the force was able to trace criminal proceedings in cryptocurrency.

“Some criminals have mistakenly thought that cryptocurrencies are harder to trace, but I stress the force is capable and determined of bringing them to justice,” Kwan said.

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