31 Aug 2017

Australian MP faces 'massage scam' at New York hotel

5:32 pm on 31 August 2017

An Australian politician has said he was targeted by a threatening blackmail scam after ordering a massage in a New York hotel.

The entrance to the Intercontinental Hotel in New York

The entrance to the Intercontinental Hotel in New York Photo: AFP

New South Wales MP Gareth Ward said he was confronted by two "aggressive" men who had arrived at his room on Tuesday.

They began filming him before demanding a "quantity of money", US police said.

Mr Ward said in a statement: "I asked for a massage - but when it became clear that more was on offer, I asked them to leave and then they become aggressive demanding money.

"I reported the matter to police and the matter is subject to investigation. The ordeal was frightening."

Mr Ward told Australian media that he had booked a "normal, standard massage" for $100 at the Intercontinental Hotel.

"They said to me, 'We are underage, we will put this on the internet unless you give us money,'" he told the Australian Broadcasting Corp, which reported the demand was $1000 ($A1250).

Mr Ward said he escaped by going downstairs and alerting hotel staff, having told the men he planned to withdraw money.

A spokesman for the New York Police Department said the pair then fled.

The matter was being investigated but no-one had been arrested, the spokesman said.