stuff: A dispute over AU$500 (NZ$520) led to the brutal bashing, torture and murder of an Australian teenager, Sydney police say.

On Thursday three teenage men appeared in court, charged with murder over the alleged kidnap, torture and killing of 17-year-old Justin Tsang.

Justin, from Drummoyne in Sydney’s inner west, was reported missing on March 15 after his family said they had not heard from him for four days.

Justin’s body was found at Wentworth Falls four days after he was reported missing.

Commander of the homicide squad, Detective Superintendent Scott Cook, said on March 11 Justin was picked up in a green BMW sedan and driven to a share house in Burwood Heights where he was held against his will and tortured by a group of men.

“We know over a period moving into the 12th of March Justin was beaten and ultimately brutally killed in that premises,” Superintendent Cook said.

“He was physically assaulted for hours and hours and hours, so you could say it’s torture. He had defensive injuries, and there’s some suggestions that he actually was pleading for his life.”

Superintendent Cook said Justin’s body was then put back in the green BMW and driven to the Blue Mountains, where he was buried in a shallow grave at the Jamison Lookout at Wentworth Falls.

The detective said the motive appeared to be related to a dispute over property. Court documents suggest Justin was kidnapped and assaulted with the intention of obtaining AU$500 (NZ$520) cash.

The three men accused of Justin’s murder all knew each other from playing the online game Mountain and Blade: Warband, while Justin only knew one of the men.

Superintendent Cook said police do not believe that gaming was a motive for the alleged murder.

On Thursday, Yigit Erdogan, 19, faced Bankstown Local Court charged with murder, and detaining Justin with the intention of obtaining a financial advantage occasioning actual bodily harm.

Erdogan, who police allege organised and co-ordinated Justin’s killing, did not apply for bail and bail was refused.

The Punchbowl man was detained to next appear before court on May 23.

Two other men, Chris Hopkinson and Joel Steven Robertson appeared at Burwood Local Court, both charged with murder, and detaining to obtain advantage occasioning actual bodily harm.

Hopkinson appeared before magistrate Lisa Stapleton as his lawyer Ken Buckman argued he should be released on bail.

Buckman said his client, an unemployed 18-year-old originally from Western Australia, did not know the victim before the night of March 11, and that Erdogan intimidated his client into standing guard with a wrench.

He argued the Crown case against Hopkinson was not strong, and his admissions in phone conversations were not admissions of murder but of being in a bad situation.

Police prosecutor Michael Tran said the first witness accounts had been corroborated by two further witness statements and were also backed up by CCTV footage and phone records.

While Stapleton accepted Hopkinson had no history with police in either NSW or WA, bail was refused.

Roberston, also 18, appeared briefly before magistrate Stapleton, and did not apply for bail. The two Burwood Heights men will appear in Burwood Local Court on May 29.

Superintendent Cook said officers were continuing to search a Burwood Heights property for evidence and he could not rule out further charges.

Source: Published by stuff

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