Toronto police say they believe two Chinese students they first thought were missing persons are actually victims of a scam targeting their parents back in China.
Since Wednesday, police were made aware that two Chinese students studying in Toronto, Juanwen Zhang, 20, and Ke “Jaden” Xu, were reported missing to authorities.
After looking into the matter, investigators say they believe suspects contacted both students and told them to go into hiding and stay off their phones and social media, saying their families back in China would be in danger if they did not comply.
At the same time, the same suspects allegedly contacted the students’ families in China.
Police allege the suspects told family members of both students that they had been kidnapped and demanded a hefty ransom to secure their release.
Investigators say they are concerned for the safety of both missing students.
Zhang is described five-feet-four inches tall, weighing 110 pounds. She was last seen in the Yonge and Grenville streets area on Wednesday afternoon wearing a grey jacket, grey U of T sweatpants and a green knapsack.
Xu is described as six-feet-one inches tall, with a thin build, short black hair and brown eyes. He was last seen in the Eglinton and Midland avenues area on Thursday morning wearing a red winter coat, grey pants and a black backpack.
Anyone with information is asked to call police at 52 Division or 41 Division.