Kidnapping Fraud

Fake kidnapping fraud:

“Most commonly we have unsolicited calls to potential victims in Australia, purporting to represent the people in authority in China and suggesting to intending victims here they have been involved in some sort of offence in China or elsewhere, for which they’re being held responsible,” Commander McLean said.

The scammers threaten the students with deportation from Australia or some kind of criminal punishment.

The victims are then coerced into providing their identification details or money to get out of the supposed trouble they’re in.

Commander McLean said there are also cases where the student is told they have to hide in a hotel room, provide compromising photos of themselves and cut off all contact.

This simulates a kidnapping.

“So having tricked the victims in Australia into providing the photographs, and money and documents and other things, they then present the information back to the unknowing families in China to suggest that their children who are abroad are in trouble,” Commander McLean said.

“So quite circular in a sense…very skilled, very cunning.”

Posted on May 29, 2018 at 9:31 AM12 Comments


Tatütata May 29, 2018 11:28 AM

“So quite circular in a sense…very skilled, very cunning.”

So very LeCarré…

echo May 29, 2018 12:25 PM

Kidnapping for ransom was a fair risk in Latin America. The way the dodge worked was fake police who actually did have real guns pressuring for money and any money relatives abroad could send. UK Foreign office is or certainly was at the time usefully incompetent so very little help to the victim but also not very useful for kidnappers who wished to extort money.

It’s interesting how these scams tap into the culture and media. I suppose scamming is all about creating an impression. If it perceived as real then it is real as far as the victims are concerned.

Long ago May 29, 2018 12:28 PM

Long ago, I was travelling overseas. Someone called my mother claiming that “her son” had been arrested and that about $2500 was needed to get me a lawyer who would get me out of jail.

Mom said that he’d gotten into it and would have to get out of it.

Tony H. May 29, 2018 6:25 PM

Variations on this have happened a number of times in Canada in the last year or so.

The CBC site has the first of these translated into Chinese, presumably for the benefit of parents who don’t read English. And there’s a TV news item from 2017.

Lotek May 29, 2018 8:53 PM

“So quite circular in a sense…very skilled, very cunning.”

Cunning? Ha. Some people fall for any scam, really nothing can be done about it.

RealFakeNews May 30, 2018 8:17 AM

It never ceases to amaze me what some people will do to themselves.

Attacker: “Go lock yourself in a hotel room, and give me all your money.”
Victim: “Sure!”


asdf May 30, 2018 8:35 AM

@RealFakeNews I imagine these are people who are particularly afraid of the power (and irrational bureaucracy) of the Chinese government.

Clive Robinson May 31, 2018 8:44 PM

@ echo, RealFakeNews,

Everybody is everybody elses idiot.

Or as they say in Yorkshire,

    All t’worlds mad c’ept thee n me, and thee’s not looking so good today.

But as others have observed,

    Like beauty many things are in the eye of the beholder, but first you have to get the splint out, no matter if it’s the size of a mature redwood 😉

Life is really all about where you stand and what you see from there that defines your point of view.

As I’ve noted before, if N people observe an event, there are N+1 “truths” of which N are “near truths” and only the +1 nobody sees is the real truth.

I’ve also observed how you can not just bend those N “near truths” the way you want, but you can also by only telling what others think is the truth deceive greatly. The advantage of such deceptions is that as only accepted or documented truths are told you can not be caught in a lie…

The first time someone learns to do it they realise what power such an ability has… They then stand on a threshold of which only their morals will decide which side they wish to be on.

I like to think or more correctly hope, that my morals have kept me on the right side, but then how do you decide what is the right side? Thus my point of view by definition is flawed so it is not the one that counts at the end of the day.

But this is not just a hypothetical issue. As some will know in the US they now have laws that will alow an officer of the law to take any money an individual has on them. Supposadly this law is to stop crime… But from the point of view of the person having their money taken it’s theft by duress, so it’s a serious crime…

So which point of view is correct, that of the police officer taking the money or the person from whom the money is being taken?

The way a person answers that question is actually more important than the answer they give. Which if you analyze it correctly will tell you a great deal more than at first glance you might think.

JalanJalan June 2, 2018 1:36 AM

For the scammers to

present the information back to the unknowing families in China

suggests they know the family connections, from hacking their social media accounts, or they could be jealous relatives?

echo June 2, 2018 11:57 AM


Yes in the UK have observed this kind of thing. Think also of editing the record before it is written, forced to agree under duress, and records being deleted or investigations hijacked before the issues and differences of opinion could officially be put on the record. Tell the truth and adhere to what the standards are to the letter and this kind of abuse of power emerges very fast to cover up standards compromised by those who have already compromised themselves. Anyone who is not skilled in the field of analysis and who acquires the necessary domain knowledge and who doesn’t collect the evidence from sources kept from public eye behind the offcial system will almost certainly miss this.

While US and UK law is different in its implementation the typical authority trick of trying to coerce people into a lie and cover-up which happens because of authority complicity is mirrored in the Sunday Time case. The case law now is that an employee of an organisation can be compelled to give evidence of criminal wrongdoing by another employee or the organisation.

There is some evidence in the discrimination field that harassment and coercion of staff to go along with largely undocumented and hidden bullying does occur and that organisations committ perjury and where evidence of crime and perjury later emerge this is not prosecuted because the state does not willingly prosecute the state.

Clive Robinson June 2, 2018 4:06 PM

@ echo,

where evidence of crime and perjury later emerge this is not prosecuted because the state does not willingly prosecute the state.

Ahh “The Old Boys Club” at work.

Such people should be prosecuted for malfeasance to the maximum sentance allowable, stripped of their lucrative pensions and barred from holding any public office, positoion of trust or responsability. Likewise they should be “banned from association” that is anybody in such a position is mandated to report contact and meeting and provide contact content under the same rules as evidence to be entered into court (thus leave themselves open to purjury charges if they fail to report properly).

It is only by draconian action that you can stamp out what is one of the darker and least acceptable sides of institutional / group nepotism and secrecy, that has given us the mess we currently have.

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