The Chinese pre-university student who was reported kidnapped late last month in Australia for 80 Bitcoin has been rescued and reunited with his family. The Chinese Consulate-General in Sydney confirmed that the 20-year old Ye Jingwang who was studying at the University of Technology Sydney had been found ‘safe’ and in ‘good health’.
80 Bitcoin ransom paid
While the Chinese Consulate-General did not reveal how Jingwang was rescued, china’s English-language publication That’s has revealed that a ransom of 80 Bitcoin was paid to secure his release. At the current Bitcoin price of around $10,350, that translates to $828,000. With the annual tuition fees at the University of Technology Sydney averaging AU$20,000 (US$13,400) for most courses, that’s an amount that equals the tuition fees by an entire class of sixty students for one year.
According to That’s, Jingwang’s parents traveled from China to Australia in late August and paid the ransom.
So how was the student kidnapped?
Following the kidnapping incident there was suspicion that Jingwang and his family may have fallen prey to fake kidnappings that are orchestrated against the Chinese studying in Australia. These involve fraudsters pretending to be Chinese government officials who blackmail their victims accusing them of being involved in serious crimes in China.
— Zyite (@ZyiteGadgets) August 27, 2019
The fraudsters then force their victims into convincing their family members in China that they have been kidnapped before a ransom is demanded. Last year in May, the Australian Federal Police warned that the fake kidnapping scam was not limited to Australia but was also prevalent in Canada and the U.S. The ransom, however, is not necessarily demanded in Bitcoin.
However, various reports indicate that it was a real kidnapping. According to a relative of Jingwang, the student was tasered before his hands and legs were tied up. During the time he was missing, he had been held in the back of a car for ten days, per a source (in Chinese).