Tue, Oct 11, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Taiwanese man travels to China on fake police order

By Liu Ching-hou and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Criminals allegedly used fake police documents to fool a 26-year-old Taiwanese engineer surnamed Wang (王), who was working in Hong Kong, into traveling to Shenzhen, China, after which they demanded a ransom from his family.

Taiwanese police said the suspects sent Wang a forged arrest warrant, ordering him to go to a hotel in Shenzhen and await further instructions from authorities.

The group then reportedly called Wang’s family in Taiwan to demand a NT$100 million (US$3.18 million) ransom, police said, adding that police in Shenzhen later managed to track Wang to the hotel.

Wang had been unreachable for four days when his mother received the ransom call in Taipei, police said.

His mother had contacted the Criminal Investigation Bureau in Taipei when she lost contact with her son, police said, adding that she also reached out to friends in Hong Kong who notified local police.

Following the advice of a task force established by the Taipei Police Department Criminal investigation Division and the Daan District Precinct, she demanded that the group provide daily photographs of Wang holding a newspaper as proof of life.

The suspects ordered Wang by telephone to take the photographs, which they passed on to his mother.

Wang said he complied with the orders, as they appeared to be coming from authorities.

Authorities said Wang’s case employed a common telephone-based scam tactic, in which criminals send forged police orders to victims through messaging apps ordering them to report to specific locations and await an investigation. The messages tell victims not to contact others, while the criminals contact victims’ families to demand ransom.

Hong Kong police checked surveillance footage and found that Wang had passed through customs in the territory alone, saying his appearance showed nothing out of the ordinary.

Meanwhile, Taiwanese investigators found the forged arrest warrant on the server of a messaging app Wang had used, as well as numerous records of suspicious communications.

The investigators then turned the information over to police in Shenzhen, who confirmed that the case was a scam, and not a kidnapping.

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