Police find vehicle wanted in Markham kidnapping, victim still missing – CityNews

Police find vehicle wanted in Markham kidnapping, victim still missing - CityNews
What we know about apparent armed kidnapping of Wanzhen Peter Lu
York police say the vehicle believed to have been used in a violent Markham kidnapping has been found, but officers are still searching for the victim.

The license plate that was on the back of the van during the alleged kidnapping was Ontario plate CEAR350, stolen from Peel Region on March 11.

This entire case is odd, Pattenden said. This type of thing just does not happen in York Region. I mean we are a safe region. Markham is a very safe place. Abductions like this, especially where this level of violence is used, is very rare in this country.

Wanzhen Lu, 22, has not been seen since he was taken from an the underground parking garage of his condominium building at 15 Water Walk Drive, in the area of Highway 7 and Birchmount Road.

Speaking at a news conference on Monday afternoon, York Regional Police Const. Andy Pattenden confirmed that the van used in the abduction was recovered at an unspecified location in Toronto on Sunday night.

Lu arrived at the building in a black Range Rover just before his alleged abduction around 6 p.m. Saturday, police said.

Neighbours say the student from Hainan, China was regularly seen driving multiple expensive, exotic cars.

According to police, three suspects got out of a Dodge Caravan and approached Lu, who was walking toward the elevators. Another suspect remained inside the vehicle, which was parked inside the garage.

[email protected] tell @CityNews Wanzhen Lu arrived at his condo in a black Range Rover on Saturday evening just before his alleged abduction. A source who shared some pictures with us says Lu also drove this white Lamborghini and Rolls Royce. pic.twitter.com/pffM1Gtx1L

Police have not been made aware of any ransom demands and say they have yet to determine a motive for the alleged kidnapping.

We are working with all of our partner agencies, border services, all of the neighbouring jurisdictions on this. We just have no sign of Mr. Lu at this time, Pattenden said.

The fact Lu has vanished is extremely troubling, said police adding these types of alleged, violent kidnappings do not happen very often, if ever in York region.

The first suspect is a male who was wearing a mask, blue pants and a black jacket at the time. Another is described as a dark-skinned male, around six-foot-one, wearing a black Canada goose jacket. The third suspect was wearing dark blue jeans with a jacket and is described as a dark-skinned male with a heavier build and around six-foot-two inches tall. The last suspect was wearing a green and yellow jacket with a hood.

They are going to be looking for any sort of evidence that might be able to… determine who was in that vehicle and lead us to where Mr. Lu might be, he added.

Police say Lu was wearing a Gucci hoody, torn black jeans and white sneakers when he was taken, as seen in the photo below.

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Investigators say they believe the attack was targeted as the friend who was with Lu at the time of the abduction was not physically injured.

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The 22-year-old, who also goes by the name Peter, is currently living in Canada to study but police would not confirm what school he is attending.

Investigators have located the vehicle used in what police say was the "armed kidnapping" of a 22-year-old Chinese international student Saturday night in Markham, Ont., police say.

York Regional Police spokesperson Const. Andy Pattenden say forensic investigators will now be combing through the van, into which Wanzhen Lu was forced moments after he and a female friend got out of a black Range Rover in an underground parking garage at a condo building in the city north of Toronto.

Pattenden said he does not believe investigators or family members have had any contact with the kidnappers and no ransom request has been made.

Pattenden says the vehicle was located in Toronto, but wouldn't provide a specific location. Investigators will be scouring the vehicle for clues as to who may have been inside, and where Lu might have been taken.

Now is the time to seek legal counsel and turn yourself in. Now is the time to let Mr. Lu go. Put him in a safe location, Pattenden said.

"Now is the time to seek legal counsel and turn yourself in," he said addressing the captors at a news conference Monday.

One of the suspects, police say, shocked Lu with a conducted energy weapon multiple times and loaded him into the van before driving off.

Lu was forced into the van by three men, "100 per cent against his will" after he was shocked a number of times with a stun gun, police have said. He has not been heard from since. The female friend wasn't injured, but was reportedly traumatized by what she saw and has been helping police in the investigation.

RT YRP: ARMED KIDNAPPING CONTD – Wanzhen LU was wearing the clothing in this photo when he was forced into a van by 3 masked men, one armed with a taser. Incident occurred just before 6pm tonight in underground garage at 15 Water Walk Drive, Markham. Ca… pic.twitter.com/aWsRRX97G7

Family members are on their way to the Greater Toronto Area from China, because they are concerned about his disappearance, Pattenden said Monday.

MARKHAM, Ont. — Police allege a Chinese national studying in Canada was shocked multiple times by a man with a stun gun in a violent kidnapping that took place in the underground parking garage of his condominium north of Toronto.

"I'm sure they are very concerned about the well-being of their family member here who has been taken," he said.

Lu was returning with his friend to his condo at 15 Water Walk Dr., in the area of Highway 7 and Birchmount Road, shortly before 6 p.m. ET on Saturday when the van appeared behind them. Pattenden has said Lu and his friend may have been walking toward the elevators of the garage. He goes by the English name "Peter," say police.

Pattenden says officers are concerned for Lus safety and want the public to call police or 911 if they see the van or if they have information.

Three men, with hoods pulled tightly around their faces, got out of a black Dodge Caravan in the garage. Pattenden has said it's believed the van was already in the garage when Lu and his friend appeared. Police believe the abduction was a targeted one, especially given the female Lu was with was not harmed.

Const. Andy Pattenden says the four suspects were in a black Dodge Caravan with stickers indicating that it is wheelchair accessible.

There was a struggle, Lu resisted, and the man shocked him a number of times with the Taser. Police would not say how many times. Lu was "dragged" into the van. Police wouldn't comment on the extent of his injuries.

The van sped off in an unknown direction. It had no front licence plate. The back plate, which police say was stolen, was CEAR350. The van was wheelchair accessible and had stickers indicating that. Police described it as having "unique markings."

The vehicle has been found, but the plates had been removed. Neither Lu nor the captors have been heard from. Nor are police aware of any demands made in connection with the case.

Officers from York police's major crimes bureau have interviewed witnesses in the building and canvassed the area for surveillance camera video. Video was obtained from the garage itself.

Police have released images of the three men who got out of the van and descriptions of all four suspects including the driver. They have also released a description and two images of the van itself.

Lu, an East Asian male, was said to be wearing glasses, a black hoodie, black jeans and white running shoes when he was abducted.

In a statement to CBC Toronto on Sunday, Consul Jinxuan Zhang said the consulate is maintaining close contact and communication with the police, and it has contacted Lu's parents.

A local resident said the garage is said to be three levels and serves two buildings in the condo complex.

Police still don't know the motive or whether those behind the abduction have made contact with Lu's family.

Police have also not said which school Lu is attending, but have said some classmates have made contact with them.

It's not known how long Lu has been attending, how long he has been in Canada or where he is from in China. They have released no information about his parents.

Police are also not releasing security camera footage from the incident yet. They do say there are plenty of cameras in the area that they are continuing to look at.

Police have also not said whether Lu's disappearance is connected in any way with a ransom scam in which fraudsters have tried to get money from the families of young, vulnerable international students from China who are living in Canada — a scam that has targeted students in Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg and Calgary.

"At this point in time, our investigators have not provided us with any other information linking it to any other cases that they may be aware of. They are treating this as a unique situation," Pattenden said Monday. 

In 2017, at least three Chinese international students in the Toronto area fell victim to the ransom scam, which captured attention across the country.