29 July 2016
Jason Lee, New Zealand’s Jiu-Jitsu athlete who was “kidnapped” last weekend by military police officers in Brazil has been released and is now back home in Toronto, Canada, the New Zealand Herald reports.
Lee was “kidnapped” with his girlfriend, Laura McQuillan, a journalist, as they were both forced into an unmarked car by two military policemen.
The military policemen allegedly forced the athlete and his girlfriend to two Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where they were made to withdraw large sums of money as bribe.
Prior to the incident, Lee had lived in Brazil for 10 months. Though he is not participating in next month’s Rio Games because his sport, Jiu-Jitsu is not an Olympic sport, his girlfriend, a journalist, is supposed to cover the Olympics.
On regaining freedom, Lee took to Facebook to describe his ordeal in the hands of the law enforcement agents.
He wrote: “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.
After a second visit by the police officers, Lee said, they had to do the next necessary thing, which was to leave the country. “Once we had the second visit there was no other course of action”, he said.
Lee’s girlfriend also took to twitter to confirm they’ve exited Brazil.
— Laura McQuillan (@mcquillanatorz) July 28, 2016
In an interview with Fairfax Lee said the repeat visit by police prompted the couple’s departure from Brazil.
“After the first visit from the police we immediately began to talk about whether leaving was the best option. Once we had the second visit there was no other course of action.”