Two women arrrested for ‘faking’ their own abduction to ‘spice up’ 40th birthday party
TWO tourists have been arrested in Portugal after allegedly hiring a firm to kidnap them during a 40th birthday party in an echo of 1997 thriller The Game starring Michael Douglas.
Police raced into action after receiving a string of 999 calls about an abduction in a Lisbon square.
Terrified callers told them they had seen masked men forcing two British women into a white van.
Detectives mobilised several emergency response vehicles for a chase - only to discover when they stopped the van that the two women were thrill-seekers who had paid to be kidnapped to spice up their birthday celebrations.
The pair were arrested along with four Portuguese nationals - the owner of the unnamed company and three other men involved in the pretend abduction.
Police have confiscated the vehicle used in the fake kidnap and a video used to film the experience.
They were due to appear in court in Lisbon yesterday on suspicion of criminal simulation, a crime which carries a maximum one-year prison sentence, for their first quiz in front of an investigating magistrate.
None of the six detainees have been named.
It was not clear this what the outcome of the court case was.
The bizarre incident occurred around 15.30pm on Sunday at Restauradores Square in Lisbon city centre.
The square is dedicated to the restoration of the independence of Portugal in 1640 after 60 years of Spanish domination.
The four men and two Brits police arrested are aged between 27 and 40.
The women are thought to have flown to Portugal with a group of nine friends to celebrate their 40th birthdays.
A police source said: "The incident provoked social alarm and terrified several passers-by at the scene."
Extreme kidnapping is the latest thrill for adrenaline junkies.
Punters pay up to POUNDS 1,000 to be abducted and tortured.
Customers of French firm Ultime Realite can buy a basic abduction package in which they are seized by strangers, bundled into a car bound and gagged, and kept in a dark cellar for hours.
Boat chases and helicopter escapes can be added to the tailor-made experience.
Customers explain what they want and once the scenario is established, they sign a contract and liability waiver, but have no idea exactly when or where their abductors will strike.
The company's website promises: "You will go through the real sensations of violence, terror and fear of a real kidnapping - a psychological shock that you won't forget in a hurry."
The service echoes the 1997 thriller The Game starring Michael Douglas, in which the protagonist is trapped in a real-life 'game' organised by a shadowy group called Consumer Recreation Services.