Men arrested in Docklands after teenager held hostage in CBD apartment
Six men have been arrested in raids across Docklands and the CBD after a teenager was allegedly kidnapped with attempts made to extort money from him.
Victoria Police said the victim, a 19-year-old Chinese national man, had raised the alarm with a female friend via Chinese messaging app WeChat, saying he was being held hostage by armed men in a CBD apartment.
The 21-year-old woman, also a Chinese national, contacted police on August 16 after receiving the news, in which police allege the men had demanded $200,000 from the teenager.
Police pounced on an apartment about 1.20am on August 17 where they found the man “without incident”.
Three men, all Chinese nationals, were later arrested after search warrants were executed at residential properties in the CBD and Docklands.
All three were interviewed, with a 23-year-old man and a 22-year-old man charged with false imprisonment, attempted armed robbery, common law assault, unlawful assault, extortion, and blackmail.
They faced Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on August 18 and were bailed to appear again on November 9.
A 21-year-old man was released pending further enquiries.
Detectives arrested three more men aged 23, 25, and 27 in Docklands on August 21.
All three Chinese nationals were interviewed in relation to the alleged kidnapping and released pending further enquiries while police investigate.
Earlier this year Victoria Police issued a public warning about several scams that were predominantly targeting Mandarin-speaking Chinese students.
“These scams often involve fake information being provided to victims in order to extort money from them,” police said.
“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.”