Singapore: Chinese tourist sent to jail for faking own kidnapping, attempting to extort SGD 5,700 ‘ransom’ from aunt

A Chinese tourist has been jailed for 10 weeks in Singapore on Monday for faking his own kidnapping and trying to deceive his family member. As per the Singapore Police Force, the 33-year-old man schemed and tried to trick his aunt to pay him RMB 30,000 (SGD 5,700), in April.

The man was located in the vicinity of Marina Bay. Photo courtesy: Unsplash
The man was located in the vicinity of Marina Bay. Photo courtesy: Unsplash

The tourist resorted to the tactics to pay off his gambling debts amounting between SGD 20,000 and SGD 30,000.

On 9 March 2024 at about 6:51 pm, the SPF received a call for assistance that the tourist had allegedly been kidnapped. The 33-year-old, identified as Liu Changjian, was supposed to return to China on 6 March but did not do so. One the other hand, Liu’s aunt allegedly received text messages through WeChat from an unknown person seeking a ransom of RMB 30,000 for the release of her nephew.

In the text messages, the unknown person forwarded the photo of the man’s travel document as proof. The aunt, who was in China at the time, alerted the man’s father to the matter. Fearing for his son’s safety, the father sought help from law enforcement in Singapore.

Within three hours of the call, the police managed to locate the man in the vicinity of Marina Bay. He was safe and sound.

“Further investigations revealed that the man had gambling debts amounting between SGD$20,000 and SGD$30,000. To recoup from the debts, the man pretended to be someone else and staged his own kidnap. He had sent threatening messages to his aunt in hopes to receive the ransom money. However, no ransom was paid to him or anyone else and his mobile devices were seized in connection to the case,” the SPG news release read.

Liu later pleaded guilty to cheating.