The dream turned into a nightmare
Well, that's a terrible story. But hey, there's nothing better than starting the new year with something that makes us loathe humanity. The story of a man from China who was kidnapped and forced to work for an online gambling ring, although technically about a year old, has only just come to light, so let's delve into it in more detail.
According to the South China morning posta 26-year-old man from China named Zhang, wanted to have a nice vacation and booked a trip to a Southeast Asian country (name of country not disclosed) in November 2019. Since he is a bargain hunter like many of us, he opted for a travel package for 4,500 yuan (US$630), which was 3,000 yuan (US$420) less than the market price.
Unfortunately, as the saying goes, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. And in this situation, pretty much the worst possible outcome came about.
When he arrived at his destination, the driver who picked him up took him to a factory area and said, “Get out of the car, you work here now.”
And that was it. Zhang was trapped. They took his phone, ID card and passport. He tried to fight, but to no avail.
Beatings and lies
The job they gave him was to sit on the phone and try to get people to sign up for an online gambling site (one would assume it was an illegal, unscrupulous site). He wasn't good at it either because he was too honest a person. For this reason he was often beaten.
After six months, the kidnappers promised to release Zhang if he paid them 111,000 yuan (US$15,500). His parents obeyed him, but of course the kidnappers weren't the honest kind, so they kept the money and sold Zhang to another company. Desperate, Zhang's parents paid again when the offer was repeated, but as before, Zhang was not released. His parents paid a total of over one million yuan (US$140,000).
At one point, Zhang believed he could escape. His injuries from the beating were so severe that he was taken to a hospital. Once there, he tried to hire a local agent to get him a passport, but that agent was also corrupt and helped sell him to a third gambling company.
Although this must have been heartbreaking for Zhang, it actually proved to be the break he needed. The new company was slow to confiscate the phones so Zhang (who presumably carried one for work?) could reach the police.
Zhang was rescued in October 2022, nearly three years after his abduction. He has since warned others not to use an “official” and reliable travel agent when planning a vacation.