Police warn about ‘virtual kidnapping’ scheme targeting foreign students

Students are told to make fake videos that are sent to their families to extort money

Vancouver Police are warning the public after two Chinese students were targeted in elaborate ‘virtual kidnapping’ schemes.

Police said that two students have been targeted so far in 2018, following 20 ‘virtual kidnapping’ cases in 2017.

The suspects typically target women in their early 20s from mainland China who are in B.C. studying on a foreign visa.

Police say that the schemes start with a student getting a call from a number that looks to be from the Chinese consulate.

The caller tells the student that there’s a warrant out for their arrest in China or that Chinese police need their help with an investigation.

The students get convinced to make a fake video pretending to have been kidnapped or hit by another crime and told to go hide out from Canadian police at a motel or short term rental.

That video is then sent to the victim’s family in an attempt to extort them for money.

“We want to remind all foreign students that the Chinese police will not arrest you in Canada, or ask you to take photos or videos of yourselves pretending to be the victim of crime,” said Sgt. Jason Robillard in a news release.

“Legitimate contact from the Chinese authorities will be through your local police. We are here to help you. If you are confused or scared, reach out to your local police department in Canada.”

Police are asking anyone with any information to call 604-717-3679 or if they wish to remain anonymous, to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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