July 27, 2020, 04.17 PM

Victims are "traumatized by what has occurred, believing they have placed themselves, and their loved ones, in real danger", New South Wales Police assistant commissioner Peter Thurtell said.

Over 1,000 "Chinese authority" scams were recorded last year by Australia's consumer watchdog.

Exiled Chinese dissidents and members of persecuted ethnic groups have also reported harassment from Chinese authorities, including threatening phone calls.

Chinese officials said no authority would contact students on their mobile to demand money.

The warning comes as the university sector attempts to lure back lucrative international students online and prepare for any possible relaxation of virus travel restrictions.

Education is Australia's fourth-largest trade — behind iron ore, coal, and natural gas.

More than 500,000 international students enrolled last year, bringing about AUS$37 billion into the economy.

The closure of its borders to travelers due to the coronavirus pandemic has crippled the sector and heightened tensions with Beijing has further threatened the flow of students to the country.

Last month, China's Ministry of Education warned students about "multiple discriminatory incidents against Asians in Australia" during the pandemic and discouraged students from returning to the country when the borders reopened. 

(Writer & Editor: Agence France-Presse) 

Source: http://u.afp.com/38kM 

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