Published Wednesday, 04 September 2013
It happened in Sentry Hill area of the Co Antrim town on Tuesday afternoon in a public woodland area known locally as the Five Mile Park.
It is understood the victim was beaten and placed naked into bin which was then set on fire.
The man was taken by ambulance to hospital after he was found with cuts and bruising.
He is currently in a stable condition.
Police confirmed on Wednesday that three men and a woman have been arrested in connection with the incident.
Detective Chief Inspector Tracey Mageean that the man had been found injured in a taped up wheelie bin by a person out walking a dog.
"That person had the presence of mind to call the ambulance service and police immediately.
"Detectives have launched a full investigation with a definite line of enquiry as evidenced by our four arrests. At this time, I do not believe that there is a sectarian motive nor do I consider that it is paramilitary related. This incident has shocked local people as this an area where crime isn't prevalent."
DCI Mageean said those detained will be interviewed, adding that the investigation is at a very early stage.
She appealed for anyone who saw suspicious activity in the Doury Road, Dunclug or Dunvale areas of Ballymena on Tuesday afternoon to contact police.
SDLP councillor Declan O'Loan said the man was found in a council-owned park near an old-fashioned sports hall.
"While the full facts are not clear this was obviously a very serious incident and the young person concerned was treated in a disgraceful and degrading fashion," he said.
"There would have been a number of people involved in such an incident and it is likely quite a number of people have useful information in relation to what happened and I would encourage them to go to the police."
© UTV News