Police have arrested six people after discovering a kidnapped Chinese national in a Melbourne CBD apartment.
The 19-year-old man told a friend, a 21-year-old Chinese national, that he was being held hostage in an apartment by armed men.
The friend went to police on August 16 after receiving news of her friend’s abduction via WeChat.
The men holding him hostage had also demanded $200,000 for the safe return of the teen.
At about 1.20am on August 17, police investigated a city apartment and found the 19-year-old “without incident”.
Three Chinese nationals were subsequently arrested after warrants were issued at residential properties in the Melbourne CBD and Docklands.
A 23-year-old and a 22-year-old were charged with false imprisonment, attempted armed robbery, common law assault, unlawful assault, extortion and blackmail.
Both faced Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on August 18 and were bailed to appear again on November 9.
A 21-year-old man was also interviewed by police but released pending further inquiries.
On Monday, three more men were arrested in Docklands, all Chinese nationals aged 23, 25 and 27.
Following police interviews all three men were released pending further inquiries.
This incident comes after police issued a warning earlier this year regarding scams targeting Mandarin-speaking Chinese students.
“These scams often involve fake information being provided to victims in order to extort money from them,” police said in a statement.
“Victims are often threatened by people falsely claiming to be Chinese government officials or police and asking for large sums of money to be transferred in order to prevent the victim being charged or deported.”
Police have urged anyone with information on these scams to contact Crime Stoppers.