A man who was being held captive in a residential building in eastern China by a group that ran a pyramid scheme was freed after throwing almost 800 yuan (HK$930) of banknotes with help messages on them, the Modern Express reports.
One of the 50 yuan notes was picked up by an elderly woman who was walking in the residential area in Changzhou, Jiangsu province. She read the handwritten messages of “help” and “110” – the emergency police number – but thought it was a prank.
She took it more seriously the next day after she found a piece of paper wrapped around a 100 yuan note with more messages and an identity card, and called the police.
Police officers found the man in an apartment on the fifth floor, and the captive broke down in tears when they arrived.
The man, who was from Jiangxi province, said he had fallen in love with a woman online and she invited him to Changzhou to meet. On arrival, he was taken to the apartment and had his mobile phone taken away, and his captors watched him closely even when he used the toilet.
He said he had tried to escape without success, then thought of asking for help on banknotes. He had almost lost hope after tossing nearly 800 yuan from the apartment.
The three pyramid group leaders have been detained by police.