The Australian police warn of a strange form of fraud with mainly Chinese students as targets. These students are forced to pretend they have been kidnapped to get money off their family in China.
At least eight such false kidnappings have already been reported this year, New South Wales police said on SBS.
The fraud is as follows. A Chinese student receives a call from someone claiming to be from the Chinese government. The student is told that he risks being arrested in China.
To avoid this, the student must transfer money or stage his kidnapping and ask money from his family in China. That family must then pay a certain sum for the student’s release.
The police estimate that the people behind the kidnapping fraud have extorted 3.2 million Australian dollars. One family paid 2 million Australian dollars on the assumption that their daughter had been kidnapped.
According to the police, the number of “virtual” kidnappings has risen sharply in the past ten years. According to the police, the fraudsters mainly target the Sino-Australian community.