Chinese student, 16, charged with mischief after police say he ‘staged’ his own kidnapping

A 16-year-old boy newly arrived in Canada from China is facing a charge of public mischief after police say he “staged” his own kidnapping to get attention and cash from his parents.

According to York Regional Police, officers were called to a home on Huntington Park Drive in Markham shortly after midnight on Sept. 27. Officers were shown a video of the teen that police say was sent to his parents in China via a social media app.

The video showed the student bound, gagged and wearing a blindfold, York police said Tuesday morning in a news release. A text message accompanying the video demanded that the teen’s parents pay $1 million to secure his release.

“Significant frontline police and investigative resources were engaged in this investigation,” police said.

Less than two hours after they were called, police found the student at a restaurant in the Valleymede Road and Highway 7 area of Richmond Hill.

“Further investigation revealed that the student had staged the kidnapping in an effort to get attention and cash from his parents,” the news release said.

The teen was arrested and is facing a charge of public mischief.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call York police or Crime Stoppers.

The case marks the second bizarre kidnapping incident in Markham involving an international student from China.

Back on Mar. 23, Wanzhen Lu was forced into a van in a condominium parking garage in Markham. He was found three days later on a rural road in Gravenhurst, Ont., about 200 kilometres northeast of Markham. He knocked on the door of a house in the quiet cottage town and asked for help.

In June, one of the accused pleaded guilty to kidnapping for ransom and sentenced to four years in prison.

Three other men are facing numerous charges of kidnapping, forcible confinement, assault with a weapon and assault, while another suspect remains at large.