Chinese student kidnapped in Canada, says Chinese consulate-general in Toronto

Mr Wanzhen Lu was kidnapped by masked and armed suspects in an underground parking garage of a condominium building in Markham, which is part of Great Toronto Area in Canada on Saturday (March 23) evening.
Mr Wanzhen Lu was kidnapped by masked and armed suspects in an underground parking garage of a condominium building in Markham, which is part of Great Toronto Area in Canada on Saturday (March 23) evening.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

TORONTO - A 22-year-old Chinese student was kidnapped in Markham, which is part of Great Toronto Area in Canada on Saturday (March 23) evening, said the Chinese Consulate-General in Toronto.

Mr Wanzhen Lu was kidnapped by masked and armed suspects in an underground parking garage of a condominium building when he and his Chinese friend got out of their vehicle, according to York Regional Police, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Globe and Mail newspaper said that he was "shocked multiple times by a man with a stun gun".

"We have been in close contact and communication with the police, urging them to rescue the kidnapped student as soon as possible. The police said that they are doing their best to solve the case. We have also contacted the student's parents in China," said a spokesman of the Chinese Consulate-General in Toronto, as quoted by Xinhua.

Police said three armed suspects forced Mr Lu into a black minivan and fled from the underground parking garage. There are four suspects, including the minivan driver, in the alleged abduction.

The suspects' vehicle has no front licence plate. The back plate, which is stolen, is CEAR350. The van is wheelchair accessible and has a sticker indicating its accessibility, police added.

"There was a significant level of violence involved in this kidnapping. He was taken 100 per cent against his will from what we can see in the surveillance video," said Mr Andy Pattenden, spokesman for York Regional Police, on Sunday.

In the video, three suspects were wearing hoodies that partly shielded their faces, according to Xinhua.

Mr Lu's friend who was with him was not injured, said Mr Pattenden, but she was traumatised by the incident, The Globe and Mail reported.

Police said on Monday that the minivan involved in the kidnapping has been recovered. It had received tips from the public that led them to a location in the City of Toronto where the vehicle was found. The vehicle was not occupied at the time.

However, the police did not release details on where exactly the vehicle was located. It continued to appeal to the public for any information on Mr Lu's whereabouts. The suspects are advised to seek legal counsel and contact police, Xinhua reported.

China's Global Times reported that the case has sparked concerns over the safety of Chinese nationals in Canada, in the light of the arrest of Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou in December.

"I was scheduled to start an exchange study in Toronto in May but I am kind of worried now," Global Times reported, quoting a Beijing-based university student.

The student added that her parents did not allow her to leave for Canada after they read about the kidnapping case.

Parents who plan to send their children to Canada for studies are increasingly asking relevant service agencies about the issue of safety in Canada, Global Times reported.