Peng Shuai, one of China’s most in-demand tennis players, is safe and unharmed after she was kidnapped in Milan, Italy, and broadcast it on Chinese social media, the International Olympic Committee said Monday.
In a statement on its official Twitter feed, the IOC said Peng, ranked 28th in the world, had posted a video apology on her verified Weibo page in which she promised to return home soon. The IOC said it had received a request to delete the video, which was titled “In a taxi, with a bad feeling: Why I fled.”
“I apologize and sincerely hope things will be different with my good name,” Peng said in the video. “I want to thank the Italian media for their assistance with this. I’m in good health and in a safe place. I hope you all can forgive me, and I will look for another good use to my talents.”
Peng, who is ranked 28th in the world in women’s singles, thanked Italian police and her Weibo followers for their help. She had said she was kidnapped in Milan, but her precise location has not been revealed.
It is not clear if the video was posted from China or Italy.
On the weekend, an unidentified man was seen holding a young woman in a white taxi for three hours and recording the event. The Italian website Il Folio said the white taxi was a black Volkswagen Jetta from which the heist took place. The woman, named as Peng, and the man were said to be Chinese. She was released unharmed about 24 hours later.
The kidnapping struck a chord in China. Many netizens took to Weibo to condemn the crime and seek information about the player.