Chinese student found in US woods after ‘cyber kidnapping’ scam

A sergeant hiking on foot up a mountainside discovered Kai’s tent – which had no heat source but only “a heat blanket, a sleeping bag, limited food and water and several phones that were presumed to be used to carry out the cyber kidnapping”, the department said.

The detective “contacted the victim inside the tent and found he was alive but very cold and scared”.

After being rescued, Kai “requested a warm cheeseburger” and to speak to his family, which had paid US$80,000 to bank accounts in China during the scam, according to Riverdale police.

Kai’s host family in Riverdale had initially been unaware he was missing, having heard him in the kitchen in the early morning the day of his disappearance.

Riverdale police worked with the FBI, the US embassy in China and Chinese officials to find the missing teenager, according to the press release.

The Chinese embassy in Washington warned its citizens living in the United States to “boost safety awareness, take necessary precautions, and stay vigilant against ‘virtual kidnapping’ and other forms of telecom and online fraud”, a spokesperson said.

Cyber kidnappers have been targeting foreign exchange students recently, and in particular, Chinese foreign exchange students, Riverdale police said.

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