Police issue warning after 'virtual kidnapping' case in Victoria
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Wednesday, May 16, 2018 4:56PM PDT
Last Updated Wednesday, May 16, 2018 5:10PM PDT
An elaborate extortion scheme targeting young women from mainland China known as "virtual kidnapping" has made its way to Vancouver Island.
Victoria police said a young woman was reported missing by her roommate Monday night.
Investigators found evidence that the woman was being held against her will, but they were able to find her the same night, according to police.
She was not physically harmed but police said suspects were able to take a "significant" amount of money from her and her family before they realized they were being extorted.
It's just the latest in a string of "virtual kidnapping" cases in B.C., with two similar cases surfacing in the Lower Mainland in recent months.
Police say the victims are often young women in their 20s from mainland China who are studying in Canada on a student visa.
"The victim receives a phone call, often from a number that appears to be from the Chinese Consulate," VicPD said in a news release. "The victim is then informed that there is either a warrant for her arrest in China, or that the Chinese police need her help with an investigation."
The suspects then convince the victim to make fake videos indicating she's been kidnapped or is the victim of a crime.
The videos are then sent to the "kidnapped" person's family members in an attempt to extort them.
Police are now warning Victoria residents, especially those in the Chinese community, that they should call authorities if they get a call from someone claiming to be from the Chinese Consulate or Chinese Police.
They have also issued the warning in Cantonese and Mandarin.