Turkish police rescued 57 Pakistani refugees who had been chained up in an Istanbul basement by people smugglers trying to extort money, local media reported Tuesday.
The smugglers told the refugees that they would take them to Europe for $10,000, with the money to be paid after they arrived, according to Hurriyet daily.
Some of those found on Monday had been tortured, the newspaper added.
Police also detained three smugglers of Pakistani origin on suspicion of misleading the refugees during the raid on the European side of the city.
The refugees had reportedly hoped to reach Europe via Greece or Italy, giving a code to the smugglers to access the money upon reaching Europe, Hurriyet said.
However, the people-smuggling gang mainly made up of Pakistanis demanded the $10,000 upfront and told the refugees chained in Istanbul to call their families to tell them they had reached Europe already and to transfer the money, the daily said.