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Utah police rescue Chinese exchange student from “cyber-kidnapping” ordeal – World News Network

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Utah [US], January 2 (ANI): In a harrowing incident labelled “cyber-kidnapping,” Utah police successfully located and rescued 17-year-old Chinese exchange student Kai Zhuang, CNN reported.
The Riverdale Police Department revealed that Zhuang was reported missing by his high school after his parents in China received a ransom photo of their son, prompting them to send USD 80,000 to bank accounts in China due to continuous threats from the alleged kidnappers.
Zhuang was discovered by authorities on Sunday, “alive but very cold and scared,” at a makeshift campsite in the mountains near Brigham City. Police used Zhuang’s bank and phone records to locate him, revealing that he was following directions from his cyber-kidnappers to isolate himself in the wilderness, according to CNN.
Relieved to see the police, Zhuang was found in a tent without a heat source, equipped only with a heat blanket, a sleeping bag, limited food and water, and several phones presumed to be used in the cyber-kidnapping scheme.
Following the discovery, the Brigham City Fire Department assessed Zhuang for cold-related issues, clearing him of major medical concerns. To comfort him, they provided a cheeseburger as per his request. Zhuang expressed a desire to speak with his family to ensure their safety, and the police facilitated the communication.
The incident unfolded over a week before Zhuang was officially reported missing. On December 20, police officers in Provo picked him up while he was attempting to camp. Although concerned for his safety, they arranged for his return to Riverdale and informed his host family.
According to Riverdale Police, Zhuang was already “manipulated and controlled by the cyber kidnappers” during the previous encounter but had not disclosed this information to anyone, as reported by CNN.
When police visited Zhuang’s host home on Thursday, his host family claimed ignorance of his disappearance, stating that he was at home the night before, and they heard him early that morning. There was no evidence indicating that he had been forcefully taken from the home.
The Riverdale police collaborated with the FBI, the US embassy in China, and Chinese officials in the search for Zhuang. The FBI revealed that other foreign exchange students, particularly Chinese nationals, have been targeted in similar “cyber-kidnapping” scams in the US. Perpetrators employ threats, isolation orders, video monitoring, and ransom demands to coerce families into compliance.
The FBI redirected inquiries back to the Riverdale police, who continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding this alarming “cyber-kidnapping” case, CNN reported. (ANI)


Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from a syndicated feed of ANI; only the image & headline may have been reworked by News Services Division of World News Network Inc Ltd and Palghar News and Pune News and World News


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