"Virtual kidnapping" scheme hits Victoria

Victoria Police are issuing a warning to the public, specifically members of the Chinese community, about an elaborate extortion scheme known as a "virtual kidnapping".

VicPd say on Monday, May 4th they were called after a young woman was reported missing by her roommate.

Officers found evidence suggesting the young woman was being held against her will and a search was begun. She was found the same night, and while not physically harmed detectives say the perpetrators were able to take a significant amount of money from the family before the crime was uncovered.

A virtual kidnapping typically targets young women in their early 20s from mainland China, in Canada studying on a student visa. The victim receives a phone call, often from a number that appears to be from the Chinese Consulate, and is informed there is either a warrant for her arrest in China, or that the Chinese police need her help with an investigation. 

The victim is convinced to make fake videos indicating she has been kidnapped or is the victim of a crime. The victim is then told to go to a motel or a short-term rental to hide from Canadian police. The videos are then sent to family members demanding money.

There have been several reports of the virtual kidnappings in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.

Police ask anyone getting such a call to report it to them onm their non-emergency line.

And those who know or work with students from mainlaind China are asked to make them aware of the scheme.

Contact Us

If you have a news tip, story idea or to reach a radio host, contact us here.