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‘Kidnapped’ Chinese tourist found in Bangkok mall after falling victim to scam



‘Kidnapped’ Chinese tourist found in Bangkok mall after falling victim to scam​

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  • Sunday, 09 Jun 2024
    7:25 PM MYT

Lu Xinlei's family received a ransom demand of S$932,000 (RM3.25 million) from "kidnappers" earlier this week. PHOTO: METROPOLITAN POLICE BUREAU, BANGKOK/THE NATION/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

BANGKOK (The Straits Times/ANN): A 27-year-old woman from China feared to have been kidnapped in Thailand for a five million yuan (S$932,000 - RM3.25 million) ransom has been found by police at a shopping mall in Bangkok.

Media outlet Bangkok Post reported that Ms Lu Xinlei was located at HomePro BangNa, a store in the city’s Bang Na district, on the evening of June 8.

Ms Lu, who lives in Shanghai with her family, had been reported missing on June 7 after her father received a demand to pay for her release on Chinese messaging app WeChat on the same day.

He was asked to pay five million yuan.

Upon receiving the ransom demand, her father kick-started a search, which found that although Ms Lu had bought a ticket to fly from Thailand to Singapore that day, there was no record of her leaving the country.

Her disappearance turned out to be part of a cyber kidnapping scam, according to Thai news outlets.

The Bangkok Post reported that Ms Lu, who worked for a Japanese property company, had received a call from scammers telling her that she had violated an anti-money laundering law.

The scammers, who claimed to be Japanese authorities, ordered her to transfer 17 million yen (S$146,000) for examination, depart Shanghai for either Thailand or Singapore, and not to contact her parents.

After arriving in Thailand on June 5, Ms Lu was ordered by scammers to change her SIM card and to regularly move to different hotels.

After Thai police found her, she was taken to Bangkok’s Phra Khanong police station where she reunited with her mother and sister, who had flown in from China fearing she had been kidnapped.

A spokesperson for the Thai police assured the public that Ms Lu was safe and unharmed, reported online media outlet Thaiger.

The spokesperson said: “We believe the scammers tricked both the victim and her family.

“There was no real kidnapping involved.”- The Straits Times/ANN