Tele: Australia’s kidnap capital revealed [and it’s Sydney]

Kidnappers used knives, guns and sometimes no weapons at all to abduct more than 500 victims in a string of crimes committed around the country in the past financial year.

But one state stood out as the kidnap capital of Australia according to statistics by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Out of 534 kidnappings and abductions, 225 of them were in New South Wales.

Victoria recorded the next highest number with 158 people abducted or kidnapped, while Queensland and South Australia had just 59 recorded cases each according to the ABS.

Virtual kidnapping scams targeting Chinese students living in Australia are continuing to operate. Picture: Supplied/ NSW Police

In Victoria, NSW and South Australia there were more women than men who were the victims of kidnapping and most of the women were in the 20 to 34 year old age bracket.

But in Queensland was a very different story for kidnap crimes. The statistics showed there were more men than women kidnapped, and the age range of victims was aged 19 and younger. Most kidnap victims in Queensland are abducted by strangers.

Across Australia the most kidnappings took place in a residential location and more knives were used than guns.

But in the vast majority of cases, there was no weapon used, according to the ABS Statistics.

In NSW, Victoria and SA most of the kidnappers were known to their victims, either as family members or someone in their wider circle.

Northern Territory was the only State or Territory to record no kidnappings.

The numbers of kidnappings have dropped slightly in the past 10 years. In 2010 there were 597 kidnappings but the numbers are up from 2015 when the number was 511.

Police clear up rates in NSW, VIC and QLD show that 30 days after the kidnap crimes, more than half of the cases had been finalised with the offender charged.

In the past year there has been a spate of kidnap for ransom cases but with a twist.

These cases have involved “virtual kidnappings” targeting mainly Chinese students with families that were perceived to be rich.

Eight incidents of virtual kidnappings were reported to the NSW Police last year with scammers obtaining more than $3 million in ransom payments.

In one recent case, two Chinese students were involved after being psychologically manipulated by a crime gang.

A 22-year-old male uni student was convinced by scammers posing as Chinese authorities that he had to hide another female student as she was a protected witness.

Police said the 18-year-old female student had also been conned with threats from the scammers pretending to be Chinese police, claiming she was implicated in a crime. They told her the situation would be fixed if she followed their instructions and gave them a large sum of money.

NSW Detective Chief Superintendent Darren Bennett has said the scammers have the skills and the cultural triggers to make people feel they’re under threat and that they’re working on behalf of Chinese authorities.

He has warned the virtual kidnapping scams targeting Chinese students are continuing to operate and preying on the vulnerabilities of students who are not in direct physical contact with their families.

The NSW Crime Commission has reported that gangsters kidnapping gangsters for large ransoms of illegal drugs was the biggest trend in organised crime in NSW last year.

A NSWCC report said in many cases the victims were tortured during their kidnapping in an attempt to get family members to pay the ransom.

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