New Zealand Jiu Jitsu Athlete Kidnapped In Rio

Jason Lee is a New Zealand jiu-jitsu athlete. This weekend Jason claims that he was kidnapped in Rio–the same place hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics in less than two weeks–by men dressed as police officers. These officers stopped Jason, claiming that it was illegal for a foreigner to drive without a passport. They then forced him into an unmarked car and drove him to an ATM, where they demanded he take out cash.
Jason first posted an update on his Twitter account letting his fans know what happened, then went into much greater depth on his Facebook.

Who Is Jason Lee?

Jason is a New Zealand native in Brazil who was planning on spending ten months in Brazil to improve his technique (Jiu Jitsu is Brazilian martial art). He’s not an Olympian, despite some earlier reports.


What Happened?


Jason has since deleted the Facebook post (we’re looking for it now) but here’s a quote:

“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… 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 b——- on a daily basis.
“This place is well and truly f—– in every sense of the word imaginable.”

We also found an extremely helpful writeup from Stuff who seemed to be able to get his full Facebook post before it was taken down.

The police demanded that Lee either paid them 2000 Brazilian Reais (NZ$850) or they would arrest him and take him to the federal police. Lee didn’t have that much cash, so the police told him to follow them to an ATM. But instead they forced him to drive down the wrong lane of a highway, pulling off beside a concrete police bunker underneath an overpass.
“These guys have pulled me over, they have weapons. I’m not in any position to negotiate,” Lee said.
At this point he feared for his life. At the bunker, Lee was forced to swap into an unmarked private car belonging to one of the officers.
When he asked why he couldn’t drive his own car to the ATM, they explain that his car doesn’t have tinted windows, but they are in full uniform and don’t want to be seen. “At this point I acknowledged to myself that I’ve completely backed myself into a corner.”
Lee had been sending voice messages to his partner on WhatsApp, and dropped a GPS pin at the location of the bunker.
“Once I realised it was corrupt stuff that made me hesitant to go towards my phone – they knew what they were doing was wrong.”
One of the officers and Lee drove to a nearby group of shops where he withdrew the money from several ATMs. The officer stayed in the car to avoid the security cameras, Lee said. The pair returned to the bunker, Lee handed over the money, and was finally released.
One of the officers warned Lee against reporting the incident.  “He said ‘you can’t say anything to anyone about this, not a word.'” Lee worried that drugs may have been planted in his car. He immediately returned it and took an Uber home, before reporting the incident to the Tourist Police that night.
“I was umming and ahhing about whether I should even make a complaint. One of the guys I was reporting it to said ‘we understand you are hesitant, because we are the Police, and that branch of the Police is so scary even we are afraid of them’.”

Reaction:

Apparently Jason was warned by the men responsible not to report what happened. Obviously he didn’t heed their warning. When he was giving his report to the Rio police, he was actually told by the men taking his statement that he had every right to be afraid. From his Facebook post:

“I was umming and ahhing about whether I should even make a complaint. One of the guys I was reporting it to said ‘we understand you are hesitant, because we are the Police, and that branch of the Police is so scary even we are afraid of them’.”

Now it seems as though the Policia Militar have showed up at his door. This is absolute insanity.

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