Van located in Toronto, kidnapped Chinese man still missing – CTV News

Van located in Toronto, kidnapped Chinese man still missing - CTV News
What we know about apparent armed kidnapping of Wanzhen Peter Lu
Toronto-area police have located the minivan that a Chinese national was stuffed into against his will on Saturday night, but there is still no sign of the victim and police say the kidnappers motive remains unclear.

York regional police Const. Andy Pattenden told reporters on Monday afternoon that the black Dodge Caravan caught on security camera footage was located in the City of Toronto, but Wanzhen Lu remains missing.

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.

Lu, 22, was allegedly kidnapped shortly before 6 p.m. on Saturday, after he and a female passenger exited a black Land Rover Range Rover in the underground parking garage of Lus condo building in Markham, Ont.

Lu, a post-secondary student who also went by the name Peter, was hit by a man with a stun gun before three other men dragged him into the van and drove off. The female passenger was traumatized but physically unharmed and immediately contacted building security, according to Pattenden.

If theres anyone who knows Mr. Lu that has not come forward yet with any information on why he may be a target, wed definitively love to speak to you, he said.

He would not say how Lu knows the woman who reported him missing, nor would he say which school Lu attends.

An image of a suspect vehicle believed to have been used in the kidnapping of a young man from an underground parking garage in Markham is pictured. (Handout /York Regional Police)

Pattenden said he hopes the public will take a close look at images police have released of Lu and the suspects, and that anyone with information should call the major crimes bureau at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 7865.

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.

On Sunday, police released a photo of Lu in the black sweater and jeans that he was wearing at the time of the alleged abduction.

(left to right) Suspects 1, 2, and 3 in the Markham kidnapping of 22-year-old Wanzhen Lu are pictured in these images distributed by York Regional Police. (YRP /Handout)

The black van had a stolen Ontario licence plate reading CEAR 350 attached to its rear. Pattenden said Monday that licence plate has not yet been recovered.

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.

The male driver of the van was seen wearing a green and yellow jacket. Police have more specific descriptions of the other three suspects, all of whom are also men. One is said to be dark-skinned and 62 with a heavier build, wearing dark blue jeans and a black jacket. A second is described as being 61 and wearing a Canada Goose jacket, while the third was seen in a mask, a dark jacket and blue pants. The alleged kidnappers have not yet made contact with investigators.

Police say they have recovered the vehicle involved in the brazen and violent kidnapping of a 22-year-old Chinese national in Markham on Saturday evening.

On Sunday, police said that Lu drove expensive luxury cars, including a Lamborghini and a Rolls Royce.

Neighbours told CTV Toronto that they are concerned about how the kidnappers entered the buildings parking garage, which requires a fob for entry.

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 made contact with members of Lus family in China who are on their way to Toronto.

Wanzhen Lu was the victim of an armed kidnapping in the parking garage of his condo building in Markham, Ont., according to police. (York Regional Police)

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

Police in Markham, Ont., are looking for this wheelchair-accessible Dodge Caravan in connection with the disappearance of Wanzhen Lu. (York Regional Police)

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.

One of four men sought by police in connection with the disappearance of Wanzhen Lu is shown here. (York Regional Police)

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.

The victims family is on their way to Canada from China and are very concerned about Lus wellbeing, Pattenden added.

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.

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

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," he said addressing the captors at a news conference Monday.

York regional police say Wanzhen Lu, 22, was walking with his friend at about 6 p.m. on Saturday toward the elevator when he was ambushed by a group of men who attacked and then dragged him into the van in Markham, Ont.

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.

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

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

"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.

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.

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.