Detective Inspector Marc Hogan: “In the lead up to the abduction we will allege requests were made for money — and that led pretty quickly to us identifying who we should be looking for.” Photo: David Clark
Detective Inspector Marc Hogan: “In the lead up to the abduction we will allege requests were made for money — and that led pretty quickly to us identifying who we should be looking for.” Photo: David Clark

‘Bigger picture’ fear behind kidnap case

A TOP cop fears a terrifying Gold Coast schoolboy abduction and alleged ransom plot are signs of a new breed of criminality "creeping into our area".

Police on Saturday thwarted an alleged elaborate extortion attempt related to a multimillion-dollar debt involving Chinese nationals but say the real investigation has only just begun.

The nature of the abduction - which one officer called "planned and focused" - plus difficulty extracting information from some close to the incident has sparked suspicion of a scary "bigger picture".

Queensland Police Assistant Commissioner Brian Codd on the kidnapping case police thwarted at the weekend: “The type of persons or people who for whatever reason — whether it’s some sort of debt collection — undertake a planned abduction of children is a pretty nasty type of person.” Picture: NIGEL HALLETT
Queensland Police Assistant Commissioner Brian Codd on the kidnapping case police thwarted at the weekend: “The type of persons or people who for whatever reason — whether it’s some sort of debt collection — undertake a planned abduction of children is a pretty nasty type of person.” Picture: NIGEL HALLETT

Police Assistant Commissioner Brian Codd, of State Crime Command, told the Bulletin last night: "The type of persons or people who for whatever reason - whether it's some sort of debt collection - undertake a planned abduction of children is a pretty nasty type of person.

"That gives rise to whether there are other activities they might be involved in. We're looking at what it might mean in terms of a broader degree of criminality creeping into our area," he said.

Asst. Commissioner Codd: “We’re looking at what it might mean in terms of a broader degree of criminality creeping into our area.” Picture Mike Batterham
Asst. Commissioner Codd: “We’re looking at what it might mean in terms of a broader degree of criminality creeping into our area.” Picture Mike Batterham

An Amber Alert - signalling a child abduction emergency - was raised Friday night after a 12-year-old boy was dragged screaming into a vehicle outside his Mudgeeraba home that afternoon.

It sparked a police media blitz and frantic interstate hunt for the Somerset College student, described as a popular high-achiever in and out of the classroom.

Police swooped on a black SUV in Grafton, NSW, on Saturday afternoon after a member of the public phoned in a sighting of the vehicle.

The youngster is believed to have been found bound by his neck to a car headrest and police arrested his alleged captor in the driver's seat.

Police today plan to extradite a 53-year-old man to Queensland from Grafton, NSW, and it is expected a charge of kidnapping for ransom will be laid with other alleged offences.

The man is not expected to appear in Southport Magistrates Court until tomorrow.

Witnesses have told police they saw two men in the car that abducted the boy and police are still hunting for a second man.

The abducted boy, 12, was rescued by police with no physical injuries other than scratches.
The abducted boy, 12, was rescued by police with no physical injuries other than scratches.

Neighbours have reported seeing strange men knock on the door of the family's Mudgeeraba townhouse at all hours of the days in recent weeks, with the father rarely seen.

"The family is estranged," one neighbour said.

"(The boy's) sister told me they don't get to see their dad much anymore."

Despite the arrest, police say the investigation is in its early stages as "other links" to the arrested man - believed to be a Chinese national living in Sydney - are probed.

A senior police officer yesterday said there were indications the motive for the alleged kidnapping related to a substantial gambling debt racked up by the boy's Chinese father - "but that doesn't mean the father agrees with that".

Police were talking with the father - who was in China - via phone with no indication he would be returning to the Gold Coast any time soon.

Detective Inspector Marc Hogan said on Saturday it was a case where "parties were known to each other and there were financial issues involved in lead up to the abduction.

Detective Inspector Marc Hogan: “In the lead up to the abduction we will allege requests were made for money — and that led pretty quickly to us identifying who we should be looking for.” Photo: David Clark
Detective Inspector Marc Hogan: “In the lead up to the abduction we will allege requests were made for money — and that led pretty quickly to us identifying who we should be looking for.” Photo: David Clark

"It's more along the lines of personal loans with each other.

"In the lead up to the abduction we will allege requests were made for money - and that led pretty quickly to us identifying who we should be looking for," he said.

Asst. Commissioner Codd said police were keeping an open mind on who else could be involved and working closely with Australian Federal Police, Border Force officials and other agencies looking at wider circumstances around the incident.

"If we are dealing with people prepared to go to those lengths of a planned abduction of children then who knows what length they would go to in other forms of criminality.

"We're not just concentrating on the court matter here but looking at the broader picture. It's not something that happens every day." - extra reporting Chris Clarke, Jeremy Pierce

 

The foothpath area on Clover Hill Drive at Mudgeeraba, the scene of the abduction of twelve year old Oliver Yang. Picture Glenn Hampson
The foothpath area on Clover Hill Drive at Mudgeeraba, the scene of the abduction of twelve year old Oliver Yang. Picture Glenn Hampson

AS IT UNFOLDED

3.30pm, Friday: 12-year-old boy leaves Somerset College for the day, in his uniform and carrying his tennis racquet.

3.45pm, Friday: The boy is seen screaming as he is dragged into a vehicle outside his Clove Hill Dve home

8.38pm, Friday: Police issue Amber Alert - a child abduction emergency alarm - highlighting

the need for urgent public assistance to find the boy, believed to be at "significant risk".

11.52am. Saturday: Police release images of a dark blue 2013 Jeep Compass SUV believed to be the vehicle involved.

Noon, Saturday: Member of the public phones police to report sighting of the vehicle in Grafton, NSW.

12.36, Saturday: Police issue final Amber Alert update to say the boy was rescued by police with no significant injuries in Grafton, NSW, alongside his alleged captor.