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New Zealand Athlete in Rio kidnapped and forced to withdraw money from ATMs

Rio kidnapped
A Kiwi sportsman in Brazil says he was kidnapped by men in police uniform and forced to withdraw money from ATMs.

Jason Lee, Jiu-Jitsu athlete and boyfriend of New Zealand journalist Laura McQuillian, tweeted “What did you guys get up to yesterday? I got kidnapped. Go Olympics! #Rio2016.”

On Facebook, Lee wrote “yesterday I got kidnapped in Brazil.” Lee said he was kidnapped by people in police uniforms, “not by some random people with guns.”

He added “I was threatened with arrest if I did not get in their private car and accompany them to two ATMs to withdraw a large sum of money for a bribe.

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“I’m not sure what’s more depressing, the fact this stuff is happening to foreigners so close to the Olympic Games or the fact that Brazilians have to live in a society that enables this absolute bullshit on a daily basis. This place is well and truly f***ked in every sense of the word imaginable.”

In February Lee spoke about his life in Rio – where he had been living for 10 months.

“I decided to pack up my life and move here to pursue my dream of being a professional athlete and training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu full time at one of the best gyms in the world,” he said in a Fairfax column about Kiwis living overseas.

“I would have to say the greatest advantage (of living in Rio) would be the weather, which is amazing almost all of the time – even during the winter it’s hot enough to go swimming at the beach. Also the cost of living is much lower than New Zealand,” he said.

“There are obvious disadvantages, such as crime and personal safety but I would urge this isn’t a big enough problem to discourage people from visiting. The language barrier can be tough at times as very few people speak English, so learning Portuguese is a must for day-to-day life.”

This came after two members of the Australian Paralympic sailing squad were robbed at gunpoint last month.


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