A message sent on a Chinese messaging app played a crucial role in the armed rescue of an alleged kidnapping victim.
Six people were arrested after the man, who was allegedly being held by armed men, used the WeChat app to tell a friend where he was and asked her to get help.
Armed crime squad detectives found the Chinese man, 19, in a Melbourne city centre apartment after the friend went to the police.
The arrested men, who are all Chinese, also allegedly made demands to try to extort $200,000 from the 19-year-old.
The police were contacted on August 16 by a 21-year-old woman, who is also Chinese, after she found out a male friend was allegedly being held hostage.
Six people have been arrested after an alleged kidnapping victim used a Chinese messaging app to tell a friend where he was. A Victorian police officer is pictured
The teenager told his friend through the WeChat app (stock pictured) he was being held held by armed men in a CBD apartment
The police went to the apartment at about 1.20am on August 17 and freed the man without incident.
Warrants were subsequently executed at properties in the city centre and Docklands, and three men were arrested.
Two men, aged 23 and 22, were later 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 male was released pending further enquiries.
On Tuesday, August 22, Victorian detectives arrested three more people in relation to the incident.
The men, aged 23, 25 and 27, were arrested in Docklands and subsequently interviewed.
They were later released pending further enquiries and the investigation remains ongoing.
All of the arrests took place in Melbourne’s CBD (pictured) and the Docklands area
Earlier this year Victoria Police published information about scams where Mandarin-speaking Chinese students have predominantly been targeted.
These scams often involve fake information being provided to victims in order to extort money from them.
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.
Information about the scam along with crime prevention information is accessible on the Victoria Police website and is also available in Mandarin.
A stock image of a man being held hostage
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