S’porean Kidnapped in Thailand & Released After Ransom Paid in Bitcoin

I don’t know about you, but TV shows and movies seem to have implied that kidnapping is so common, it’s a crime that’ll happen to everyone at least once in their life.

Just like those Chinese scam calls, you know. You’d have received it at least once a month.

But no: kidnapping is a very serious offence. In fact, in Singapore, the offence carries a death penalty or life imprisonment with caning.

No wonder my Grab and Go-Jek drivers often told me in advance that the car doors auto-lock.

It’s so rare, the latest case occurred back in 2014, in which Sheng Siong supermarket CEO’s mother was kidnapped for a ransom of $2 million.

The perpetrator was eventually arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment and three strokes of the cane.

But in this latest case, the kidnapping did not happen in Singapore; though both the victim and the perpetrator are Singaporeans.

Kidnapped in Thailand

32-year-old Mark Cheng Jin Quan had decided to take a taxi with fellow Singaporean Lee Wei Kim on 9 January 2020 after both of them arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport (Bangkok Airport).

According to Mark himself, they had not known each other for long.

It’s not mentioned whether they had taken the trip together or had met at the airport or plane.

An hour into the ride, the taxi then stopped at a petrol station.

And then the drama unfolded; according to Mark, a black pickup was parked there. It was there that he was taken hostage, with a hood covering his head.

It’s also not revealed why no one had intervened since it’s petrol station, which means there should be some people around.

In another plot twist, Mark also claimed that the pickup is allegedly owned by a Thai actor he knew.

An inside job?

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Beaten & Released After Paying Ransom

Mark claimed that he was beaten up after he was driven to the Kabin Buri district in the central province of Prachin Buri, some 135km east of Bangkok.

Mark had to transfer a total of about SGD$54K worth of bitcoins to Lee before Lee released him.

On the next day, Mark was dropped off in Ongkharak district in Nakhon Nayok province.

A passer-by then brought him to a police station.

Kidnapped Arrested & Admitted to Everything

When you think of kidnappers, you’d think of them in ski masks.

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But not in this case.

Since Mark knew Lee, Lee was promptly arrested two days later in a hotel in Bangkok.


He confessed to all charges, including robbery, detention of others, physical assault and illegal possession of firearms. According to the Thai police, that could mean a life sentence.

Other than that, the police also retrieved the ransom amount and gave it back to Mark.

Also, if you’d have remembered, Mark has also claimed to know the owner of the pickup that was used to transport him.

The owner has allegedly been identified by police as 24-year-old Thai actor, Chano Pemberger. He will be summoned to the police for questioning.

I don’t know what you feel after reading this entire account; but seriously, is it just me, or does this sound too much like a move plot with lots of plot holes?


I mean, someone just paid his own ransom in bitcoin to someone whom he knew. And the victim was beaten up personally by his kidnapper. In the last Netflix show I’ve watched, the kidnapper bought ice-cream to the victim instead.

What think you?

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