A 53-year-old man charged with kidnapping for ransom over the snatching of a 12-year-old boy last week has failed in his court bid to be released from custody.
Zhen Jie Zhang appeared in the Southport Magistrates Court today and applied for bail with the help of a Mandarin translator.
Mr Zhang was extradited yesterday from Grafton in northern New South Wales and last night Queensland police charged him with two counts of extortion, kidnapping for ransom, torture, deprivation of liberty and assault occasioning bodily harm.
The court was told the 12-year-old boy was grabbed off a street in the Gold Coast suburb of Mudgeeraba on Friday and police found him in Mr Zhang’s SUV at Grafton on Saturday.
Defence lawyer Mollie Roper told the court her Sydney-based client was not a flight risk if granted bail and he was prepared to surrender his passport, report to police and not contact witnesses.
“My client comes before you with no criminal history,” she said.
The court heard the child told police he was grabbed by a man while walking home from school, a bag was placed over his head and he was bundled into the back of a car driven my Mr Zhang.
CCTV image of the Jeep SUV believed to have abducted the boy outside his house. (Supplied: QPS)
Ms Roper said her client disagreed with the prosecution’s version of events.
“He contests a number of the allegations before the court, but acknowledges the seriousness of the allegations,” she said.
Magistrate Joan White weighed up the submissions and decided Mr Zhang was a flight risk.
“I take into account the material that has been placed before me by the prosecution,” she said.
“The bottom line is these are very, very serious offences. Your application for bail is refused.”
Mr Zhang was remanded in custody to appear in court again on June 5.
Meanwhile, Detective Inspector Marc Hogan appealed to the Chinese community for help as police hunt for a second person they believe was involved in the boy’s alleged abduction.
Detective Inspector Marc Hogan and Constable Pepsi Li said police needed public help to find a second man. (ABC News: Michelle Rafferty)
He was accompanied by Constable Pepsi Li, who echoed his appeal in Cantonese.
“Police need help from the Chinese community to identify a second Asian male involved in the abduction of the 12-year-old boy on May 11, 2018,” Detective Inspector Hogan said.
“Police will allege that [the second man] was the actual person who got out of the vehicle and grabbed the young boy, placing that boy in the vehicle and the vehicle obviously departed.
“Anyone who has information to give police can give that information anonymously without leaving their name to Crime Stoppers.
“Police need your help to solve this crime.”
Detective Inspector Hogan confirmed the man they sought was Asian, young and of a thin build, but could not say if the man lived on the Gold Coast.