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Friday, May 24, 2024

Man extradited to the ACT after alleged virtual kidnapping

A 22-year-old man has been extradited from Queensland to face the ACT Magistrates court today after allegedly committing a virtual kidnap scam on an international student residing in the ACT last year.

The man was arrested in Brisbane on Monday, 6 May, by Queensland Police after officers from ACT Policing’s Major Crime team sought interstate assistance.

Police allege the 22-year-old man first contacted the victim in August 2023 and claimed to be a Chinese police officer investigating her for money laundering.

The victim was pressured to not tell anyone about their communication and was eventually convinced to check into a hotel room where the man attended and placed her under ‘arrest’.

He demanded ‘bail’ payments from the victim which she paid on the day and made further payments over the next few weeks.

The victim was further convinced to hand over her phone and social media accounts and book another hotel.

Police allege the man then contacted the victim’s family overseas claiming she had been kidnapped and demanded a ransom.

The victim’s family and friends reported her missing to ACT Policing and she was later located at a Belconnen hotel.

Investigators identified the 22-year-old man in CCTV footage and tracked him down to an address in Queensland where he had been residing.

He will face charges of forcible confinement, representing himself as a police officer, kidnapping, and obtaining a financial advantage by deception when he appears in court today, 8 May.

Police understand scam victims often feel shame for being taken advantage of, and encourage anyone who has been scammed to report it at www.scamwatch.gov.au.

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