A 20-year-old Chinese student in Australia was returned to his parents after the family paid his kidnappers 80 bitcoin ($842,320).
Ye was last seen leaving an apartment building in Hurstville in Sydney on August 23. The following day, his father received a video showing the student blindfolded with a bloodied face, News.com.au reported.
The kidnappers allegedly demanded 80 bitcoin from the family in exchange for their son and warned them if they failed to comply, he would have an “accident.” They sent another video two days later with Ye begging his father to rescue him.
“Following extensive investigations, the man was located by police at Mooney Mooney on the state’s Central Coast about 5.30pm on Sunday, 1 September,” a spokeswoman from the Robbery and Serious Crime Squad said.
Strike Force Galleghan, comprising of detectives from the squad, was established to investigate the alleged kidnapping case.
“He has since been reunited with his family. No arrests or charges have been laid at this stage and investigations are continuing. No further information is available,” the spokeswoman continued.
There have been speculations suggesting that Ye could be one of the many victims of the so-called “fake kidnapping,” a new scam targeting the Chinese community in Australia.
It involves fraudsters posing as part of a government body to threaten the victims with implications of crime they committed in China.
The scammers would then force the victims to do their bidding by filming fake kidnapping videos and make demands involving a large sum of money as ransom.
There have already been 25 reported cases of fake kidnapping in Australia, but authorities believe there could be more.
“There are certainly at least 25 cases that we are aware of in Australia, however, we are confident there are more – that’s 25 that we are dealing with,” Commander David McLean from the AFP’s Cyber Crime Operations told SBS News last year. “The victims are distributed among the major capitals, particularly where we’ve got concentrations of Chinese students.”
Featured Image Screenshot via Weibo