Police have recovered the vehicle involved in abduction of Chinese student in Markham
Tips from the public have led police to the minivan involved in the kidnapping of a 22-year-old student in Markham.
Wanzhen Lu was in the underground parking garage of his 15 Water Walk Drive condo building on Saturday evening, after parking a Range Rover with a friend, when he was ambushed by a trio of masked men.
York Regional Police said Lu initially resisted the attack, prompting one of the suspects to Taser him multiple times. The suspects eventually forced Lu into a Dodge Caravan minivan with a waiting driver and took off.
The vehicle was located with its plates removed on Sunday night in Toronto, but there is still no sign of Lu.
“To the best of my knowledge, there have not been any demands made at this point in time,” Const. Andy Pattenden told reporters at a news conference on Monday.
“Our focus is on locating the victim in this case…Motive is still part of this ongoing investigation.”
Police believe the kidnapping was “targeted,” but Pattenden was tight-lipped on Lu’s background. He refused to say what school the Chinese national was attending or provide details about his family, who are currently headed to Canada from China.
He said classmates have reached out to police about Lu, who also goes by the name Peter.
“That’s part of that ongoing investigation -- why him? Why not the friend he was with? Why not anybody else?” Pattenden said.
“It does appear that it was targeted and we want to know why.”
Lu’s friend was traumatized by the ordeal but escaped unharmed. She was the first to seek help from building security, who called 911.
Pattenden said investigators are looking into how the minivan accessed the private underground parking garage in the first place, but he said, based on his own observations, the van may have easily entered the lot by following another vehicle with a key or fob.
On Sunday morning, as concern for his safety mounted, police released images of the suspects.
While police are not releasing the security video, Pattenden said the kidnapping was almost entirely caught on camera and involved “a significant level of violence.”
Residents at the building told CTV News Toronto on Monday that the incident has left them unsettled.
“It’s a little bit freaky,” Justin Lee said. “I hope they improve the security downstairs because it seems like they were waiting for him, which is a bit odd. This is a high security parking garage.”
Lu has been described as an Asian male with short hair that is cropped at the sides. He wears dark-rimmed eyeglasses and was last seen wearing a black hoodie, black jeans and white running shoes.
York police have been working “very closely” with the Chinese consulate, Pattenden said, and will be speaking with Lu’s family when they arrive from China.
“Obviously they’re very concerned for the well-being of their family member,” he said.
As for the suspects, police said they are all believed to be male. An approximate age was not provided.
The first suspect was wearing blue pants and a jacket, the second suspect was wearing a black Canada Goose jacket, the third suspect was wearing dark blue jeans and black jacket, and the fourth was wearing a green or yellow jacket with a hood.
The minivan was seized from an undisclosed location in Toronto and has been turned over to forensic investigators.
The strangeness of the situation has left police baffled, Pattenden said.
“This entire case is odd. This type of thing just does not happen in York Region. We’re a safe region, Markham is a very safe place. Abductions like this, especially with this level of violence, is very rare in this country,” he said.
“Let me very clear to the suspects – 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 – we’re going to get him – and he’ll be safe from there.”
Anyone with information is being asked to contact York Regional Police or Crime Stoppers anonymously.