A New Zealand athlete says he was kidnapped and forced to withdraw cash from ATMs by men dressed in police uniforms in Rio de Janeiro.
Jiu-Jitsu athlete Jason Lee took to social media to confirm the news.
“What did you guys get up to yesterday? I got kidnapped. Go Olympics! #Rio2016,” he tweeted.
In a more detailed post on his Facebook page, Lee claims the men threatened to apprehend him if he did not meet his demands for “a large sum of money.
“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 bulls*** on a daily basis,” 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.
“This place is well and truly f***ked in every sense of the word imaginable.”
Lee’s partner, New Zealand journalist Laura McQuillian, later tweeted: “Boyfriend was accosted by Policia Militar cops who drove him to two ATMs and forced him to withdraw cash #roadtoRio.”
Following the report in the NZ Herald, Australia’s chef de mission Kitty Chiller was asked if she was concerned about security ahead of the first Aussie athletes arriving.
“Hearing that, that’s not good news at all,” she told 3AW.
“I’ve only been in the village, I haven’t been out and about. The security presence in and around the village has been very strong and very safe.
“I’ve not felt unsafe at all. Hearing something like that is very disturbing.”
Last year it was reported extra security forces — more than double what was used in London in 2012 — would flood the city in an effort to combat the significant crime level.
Aussie Paralympian Liesl Tesch experienced Rio’s dangerous underbelly first hand in June when her and her physio were robbed by two men, one of whom was armed with a gun.
“It was absolutely horrific,” Tesch said afterwards. “I can see it clear as day in my own head ... it was a pistol.”
“When it actually happens to you, it actually reinforces how dangerous this city is and how lucky we are to live in Australia.”