International student accused of staging his own kidnapping in Markham

A 16-year-old international student from China allegedly staged his own kidnapping in Markham last month.

York Regional Police said officers were called to a residence on Huntington Park Drive on Sept. 27 just after midnight for a report of a kidnapping.

“When officers arrived they were shown a video of the supposed victim, a 16-year-old student who recently arrived in Canada from China,” investigators said in a news release issued on Tuesday.

“The video, which was sent to his parents in China via a social media application, showed the student bound, gagged and wearing a blindfold.”

The video was sent with a text message demanding the student’s parents pay $1 million for his release, police said.

About one hour after the initial call to police was made, the student was spotted inside a restaurant in the area of Valleymede Road and Highway 7 in Richmond Hill, according to investigators.

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

The teenager was subsequently arrested and has since been charged with public mischief.

“Significant frontline police and investigative resources were engaged in this investigation,” officers said. “Staging an incident that results in the use of police resources when there was no such incident is a criminal offence.”

“It also needlessly ties up valuable police resources that are required to deal with actual emergencies.”

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