THE man accused of dragging a 12-year-old Gold Coast boy into a car before driving him over the border to New South Wales has faced an extradition hearing and is on his way back to Queensland.
Queensland Police issued an amber alert on Friday night, hours after the boy was pulled into a dark-coloured Jeep outside of his Mudgeeraba home.
After a mammoth police search and a public tip-off, the 12-year-old was found in the northern NSW town of Grafton on Saturday.
Zhen Jie Zhang, 53, faced Grafton Local Court this afternoon and said: “I had no intention of doing what I did.”
The 12-year-old boy was found in the car with Mr Zhang.
Through a Cantonese interpreter, Mr Zhang asked Magistrate Karen Stafford if he could tell her his story and explain his case.
Ms Stafford told him he would be able to when he was back in Queensland and approved his extradition.
The accused is understood to be an Australian citizen of Chinese heritage.
The 53-year-old is now travelling back to Queensland with two of the state’s detectives and will face Southport Magistrates Court on Tuesday.
The alleged kidnapper had allegedly fallen out with the boy’s family over “substantial” personal loans which prompted the extortion attempt.
It’s believed Mr Zhang will be formally charged with kidnapping for ransom.
The boy was reunited with his family by Saturday night and had scratches “consistent with being bound”, Detective Inspector Marc Hogan said on the weekend.
Queensland Police are still looking for a second suspect they believe was also involved in the boy’s kidnapping.
It’s feared the boy’s abduction was part of an international extortion racket.
A number of witnesses who originally tipped off police to the location of the 2013 Jeep also told officers they saw two men in the car, not just Mr Zhang.
Queensland Police had always been working on the assumption the abduction was pre-planned.
“He’d been at school and on returning home it appears that within a very short time frame the abduction occurred,” Detective Inspector Marc Hogan told reporters on Saturday.
“It was directly out the front of his residence.”
“The early indications are that some work has gone into that,” he said at the time. “It’s really important that we find this boy as quickly as we can.”