Angelica Aparecida Vieira de Souza, a 22-year-old nutrition student and sister of the 26-year-old Zenit St. Petersburg player, vanished on Monday afternoon while she waited outside a restaurant for a colleague who had gone inside, police in the northeastern city of Campina Grande said.
Souza was missing until Tuesday morning when the suspects freed her after arguing over a ransom, local police chief Andre Rabelo said. Police added they found the suspects in the hideout where Souza had been taken.
Police did not disclose the names of those arrested.
Hulk is the latest football player whose family has been targeted by bandits in Brazil, a country where wealthy business people, athletes, entertainers, and their families routinely live and travel under heavy security because of the threat of robberies and abductions.
The mothers of Luis Fabiano and Robinho, two other prominent Brazilian strikers, were also kidnapped in recent years.
Northeast Brazil, where economic growth led to a surge in drug trafficking in recent years, remains one of the most dangerous regions in the country.
Crime, in addition to poor logistics and construction delays, is among the chief concerns in Brazil as the country gears up to host the 2014 soccer World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.
Hulk's profile rose recently after the striker left Portuguese club Porto to join Zenit for 40 million euros in September.
His manager, Acaz Felleger, told Reuters that the player was in touch with his family but had no plans to return immediately to Brazil.