A Chinese Exchange Student Becomes a Victim of Cyber Kidnapping- The Latest Disturbing Trend

A 17-year-old Chinese Exchange Student went missing on December 28 and has been found alive

Attention India
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Kai Zhuang, a 17-year-old Chinese exchange student, has been found alive in the Utah wilderness after going missing. The local police are calling it a case of “Cyber Kidnapping” which is the latest criminal trend. In this trend, the scammers extort vulnerable victims remotely convince their families that they have been forcibly kidnapped, and start asking for ransom money.

What happened to Kai Zhuang

Zhuang went missing on Dec 28th. His family in China had contacted his school in the U.S. to report they’d received images that suggested he was forcibly kidnapped.  Zhuang’s host family in the U.S. told police they had seen Zhuang earlier that day and were unaware of a forcible kidnapping, according to Riverdale, Utah Police Chief Casey Warren. Zhuang’s family paid approximately $80,000 in ransom money to Chinese bank accounts after receiving “continuous threats from the kidnappers” about Zhuang’s safety, police said.

Zhuang was being threatened for possibly a month by the scammers. They were telling him if he didn’t comply with their demands, his family would be harmed in China. They ordered him to isolate himself in the woods and send photos to his parents, Warren said in a Tuesday Press Conference.

Zhunag’s movements were tracked by the police by using his bank account and phone data. They conducted a search and rescue operation and found Zhuang camping in the Brigham City canyon area alive. “He was very cold and scared,” said the police.

The disturbing criminal trend:

Cyber Kidnapping is the latest criminal trend that is garnering a lot of attention. Many people have been the victim of this trend. The police highlighted similar cases under this trend which were equally disturbing. The scammers tell victims to isolate themselves and may convince them under duress to make it appear they are being held captive. They play with the minds of young and vulnerable individuals and try to isolate them to extract money from their families. They also contact the victims via webcam and send voice recordings to their families.

By: Gursharan Kaur

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