A group of accused kidnappers allegedly held a man hostage, Peter Vuong, while demanding a $5 million ransom from a high-flying crypto trader.
Vuong was rescued by heavily armed NSW Police tactical officers after allegedly being held captive for five days in a rundown home on Canterbury Road in Belmore, in Sydney’s south-west.
Six men were arrested overnight and appeared in court on Wednesday, charged with very serious violent offenses.
Police allege that the men ambushed Vuong at a home in Smithfield, in the city’s west, wearing face-coverings while armed with sledgehammers and firearms over a drug deal gone wrong with one of his relatives. He was then allegedly taken to the Canterbury house, where his face was covered for six days and his teeth were forcibly removed by members of the group.
Court documents reveal that police will allege some of the men were also violent to one of the occupants of the Smithfield house, Timothy Bowyer, during the initial kidnapping.
Police will also allege the group demanded $5 million from another man, who trades cryptocurrency and works as a property investor.
The men allegedly sent the crypto trader a series of texts on an encrypted device, threatening to kill Mr. Vuong if their demands were not met.
Daily Mail Australia can reveal that the Smithfield house belongs to Mr. Bowyer’s parents, and the man asked to pay the ransom is a relative.
Police are investigating whether Vuong was the intended target of the alleged attack.
Residents who live near the Smithfield home said the Bowyers had erected security cameras at the front of the premises on Wednesday – just hours before the alleged attack.
Neighbours said they had also noticed spotlights had been set up in recent weeks around the home’s perimeter.
Despite the derelict state of the alleged kidnapping property, it appears to be well protected with security cameras at the front and rear entrance.
Vuong was located inside the Belmore home after a police operation spanning several days.
He was assessed by paramedics at the scene before being transported to hospital in a stable condition.
In footage of the arrests obtained by Daily Mail Australia, a silver car is seen pulling up outside a house in Chelmsford Avenue – just metres away from the Belmore property – where a group of officers ambushes it.
Four men were arrested at the Canterbury Road property, and a further two were nabbed by officers a few streets away.
Detective Superintendent Joe Doueihi said the six men had been charged with ‘very serious violent offenses’ during a press conference on Wednesday.
The superintendent said police were still investigating why Vuong had been chosen by the group as their hostage victim.
Neighbours said they heard what sounded like a fight in the street and ran outside to find the area swarming with police.
Daily Mail Australia does not suggest that Vuong, the Bowyers, or their crypto trader relative are involved in any crime or the alleged botched drug deal.