Victoria Police are sending out a public warning to members of the Chinese community after several reports of an elaborate extortion scheme known as “virtual” kidnappings surfaced in Victoria and the Lower Mainland in recent weeks.
The victim receives a phone call from someone claiming to be the Chinese Consulate. They are then told that there is either a warrant for their arrest in China, or that the Chinese police need them to help with an investigation.
As part of the extortion, the kidnappers eventually convince the victim to make fake videos indicating they have been kidnapped or are the victim of a crime.
These videos are then sent to the victim’s family members, who are, in turn, extorted for money. The victim is then told to hide out from Canadian police at a motel or a short-term rental.
What can you do?
Police say if you are contacted by someone claiming to be from the Chinese Consulate or the Chinese Police and are asked to participate in a virtual kidnapping, you are asked to immediately contact your local police and remember these points.
- The Chinese Police or government cannot arrest you in Canada.
- All policing contact from the Chinese government will be through local police.
- Canadian or Chinese authorities will not ask you to destroy a phone or to take photos or videos of yourself pretending to be the victim of a crime.
- If you are contacted by someone claiming to be the Chinese police and they ask you to be of assist and investigation by pretending to be the victim of a crime, call (250) 995-7654 for assistance (even if they tell you not to).
- The Victoria Police Department is here to help you. If you feel unsafe or threatened, please call us either by dialing 911 or (250) 995-7654.