Model allegedly kidnapped for ransom says she feared 'Black Death' criminal syndicate

A British model who was allegedly abducted in Italy has said she understands why people may doubt her story, but insists she was "terrified" and certain she would die during the ordeal.

Chloe Ayling says she was lured to Milan for a fake photo shoot, then drugged, stuffed into a suitcase and held at a rural house by criminals who threatened to auction her on the dark web.

In an interview with the Mail on Sunday, 20-year-old Ayling explained why she did not try to escape—and even went shopping with her captor—saying she was told she would be killed by a criminal syndicate called Black Death if she tried to flee, reports the AP.

"I understand why people have questions," she said. "People need to understand that everything I did was so I could survive."

In a separate piece, the AP looks at the purported Black Death. On a website lurking in the murkier depths of the internet, Black Death claims to be "an organized crime group based in eastern Europe."

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Its home page, captured by EU police agency Europol, contains a picture of figures wearing pointed masks associated with the 14th-century bubonic plague. The site lists services including blackmail, murder, and the supply of bombs and drugs. Three alleged women for sale are listed, with ages, nationalities and measurements and asking prices ranging from $120,000 to $750,000.

It's far from clear, however, whether the group actually delivers on any of its supposed services.

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