Chinese student who was allegedly kidnapped in Australia has been found safe after his family paid a fortune in cryptocurrency as ransom.
20-year-old Ye Jingwang was apparently abducted in Sydney. On August 24, his kidnappers sent a video to his father showing Ye blindfolded and with a bloodied face. The kidnappers warned that Ye would have an “accident” if they were not paid 80 bitcoins ($828,000).
Two days later, the father received another video from the kidnappers featuring Ye begging his dad to rescue him.
On September 1, the Southern Metropolis Daily learned that Ye’s family had arrived in Sydney and that the student had been safely rescued after the ransom was paid.
Further details regarding this case remain unreported. There’s speculation that Ye and his family may have been the victims of a so-called “fake kidnapping,” a type of scam targeting the Chinese community in Australia which became so widespread that police issued a warning about it last year.
The scam involves fraudsters posing as Chinese government officials to glean information about their victim and tell them that they are being implicated in crimes in China. The victims are then forced to pretend that they have been abducted, faking evidence and cutting off all communication with their friends and family.
Meanwhile, the fraudsters contact the victims’ families back in China, telling them that their family members have been kidnapped and will only be released if they pay a large amount of money.
However, 80 bitcoins would be a particularly large haul for this kind of scam. Australian police said last month that they had identified at least 25 cases of Chinese students being “fake kidnapped” with families being conned out of $2 million AUD ($1.3 million).