NZ sportsman Jason Lee safe in Toronto after Rio kidnap trauma

New Zealand ju-jitsu athlete Jason Lee.
New Zealand ju-jitsu athlete Jason Lee.

The NZ sportsman kidnapped by men in police uniform in Rio de Janeiro this week is now safely in Toronto.

Jason Lee, Jiu-Jitsu athlete and boyfriend of New Zealand journalist Laura McQuillan, this week said he had been kidnapped by men in police uniform.

Through his social channels, he said they forced him to take money out of an ATM and later staked out his house.

He has now tweeted that the couple have "arrived safely in Toronto."

McQuillan has also tweeted that they were out of Brazil, and her gratitute for the support the two received.

Lee had described his ordeal on Facebook earlier this week. "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.

"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 bullshit on a daily basis.

This place is well and truly f***ked in every sense of the word imaginable."

In an interview with Fairfax Lee said the repeat visits 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."

They told Fairfax the visits were an obvious attempt at intimidation.

In February Lee spoke about his life in Rio - where he had been living for 10 months.

"I decided to pack up my life and move here to pursue my dream of being a professional athlete and training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu full time at one of the best gyms in the world," he said in a Fairfax column about Kiwis living overseas.

"I would have to say the greatest advantage (of living in Rio) would be the weather, which is amazing almost all of the time - even during the winter it's hot enough to go swimming at the beach. Also the cost of living is much lower than New Zealand," he said.

- NZ Herald

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