A 20-year-old Chinese student studying in Australia has allegedly been kidnapped and is being held for a ransom of 80 bitcoin (approximately RMB5.75 million). The male student, surnamed Ye, who is starting his first year at the University of Technology Sydney, is presently still missing and an investigation is currently underway.
On August 25, the president of the Australian Emergency Assistance Association Incorporated (AEAAI) told Southern Metropolis Daily that the police have not ruled out the possibility of a “fictitious kidnapping.” Meanwhile, the student’s parents are said to be extremely concerned and are applying for a visa to go to Australia.
According to Southern Metropolis Daily, AEAAI and Ye’s parents have seen footage of the missing student blindfolded. Below, a screenshot shows the upper half of Ye’s face covered with what appears to be black tape, while dried blood is clearly visible.
Image via 南方都市报/Sohu
Ye last texted his father at around 10pm on August 23, asking for his email address to send him materials from school. When the father asked him how everything was going, Ye never responded. The following afternoon, a video was sent to his dad from the kidnappers, which said: “We have your son, if you don’t want him to have an accident, if you want him to return soon, then meet our demands.” Ye spoke in the video, saying: “Dad, they want you to coordinate with their boss.”
On Saturday, August 24, the kidnappers emailed Ye’s father, demanding 80 bitcoins within 24 hours in order to see his son. Ye’s father told Southern Metropolis Daily there was no way for him to come up with that sum of money, which equals roughly RMB5.75 million as of press time.
The Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China in Adelaide has previously issued warnings about fake kidnapping scams, which tend to target international exchange students. Once the scammer obtains info from a targeted individual, they tell the person to turn off their phone and ‘go missing.’ In some fake kidnapping cases, the person being ‘kidnapped’ is told to go into hiding or leave the country. Other times they are told to film a video of themselves bound up and bloodied, claiming they’ve been kidnapped. Afterwards, the scammer contacts the family via phone or other telecommunication means.
In many cases, parents believe their children are, in fact, kidnapped, since humiliating photos and videos often emerge, among other convincing ploys.
As for Ye’s case, the investigation is underway and his whereabouts are still unknown.
Ye is 1.7 meters tall and weighs about 165 pounds with a relatively large stature. If you have any information on the missing student, you can contact the Australian Emergency Assistance Association Incorporated via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Cover image via 南方都市报/Sohu]