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New Zealand athlete 'kidnapped' by police in Rio

By
Shawn Price
A New Zealand athlete was kidnapped Sunday by Rio de Janeiro's military police and forced to withdraw $800 in cash from ATMs around the city. Jason Lee, a martial artist, said he feared for his life. The incident is just the latest to cloud the image of the city less than two weeks before the start of the Summer Olympics there. Photo by Ververidis Vasilis/Shutterstock
A New Zealand athlete was kidnapped Sunday by Rio de Janeiro's military police and forced to withdraw $800 in cash from ATMs around the city. Jason Lee, a martial artist, said he feared for his life. The incident is just the latest to cloud the image of the city less than two weeks before the start of the Summer Olympics there. Photo by Ververidis Vasilis/Shutterstock

RIO DE JANEIRO, July 24 (UPI) -- A New Zealand martial arts athlete said he was kidnapped Sunday at gunpoint by Rio de Janeiro military police and forced to withdraw about $800 from different ATMs around the city.

Jason Lee, a New Zealander who moved to Rio about a year ago, was pulled over, then forced into a police unit at gunpoint and warned by the officers not to report the incident, he said. They also were careful to try to avoid being seen.

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The incident comes as the Summer Olympics are set to begin in the city in less than two weeks.

Lee, who later reported the incident to a different branch of police, said "I don't think I've ever felt like I could possibly die," Lee said.

"These guys have pulled me over, they have weapons. I'm not in any position to negotiate," Lee said.

Australia's chef de mission Kitty Chiller said she felt quite safe within the Olympic village, but expressed her concern with Australian athletes arriving in just days.

"Hearing that, that's not good news at all," she told 3AW.

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