Chinese Man Fakes Own Kidnapping to Get Money for Gambling Debt

  • The man sought CN¥30,000 (US$4,175) from his aunt
  • Liu’s father alerted Singapore police who quickly found him
  • He is now facing up to ten years in prison and/or a fine
Person tied up
A man faked his own kidnapping and sought ransom money from his aunt as he tried to repay gambling debts. [Image:]

Desperate times

A man struggling with a gambling debt allegedly kidnapped himself and demanded a ransom from his aunt. Authorities charged Chinese resident Liu Changjian in court on Monday after he tried to swindle CN¥30,000 (US$4,175) from his family member. A pre-trial conference will take place on March 25.

started messaging his aunt in China posing as the kidnapper

The Chinese national enacted the plan while at the Marina Bay Sands Casino in Singapore. He arrived in the country on March 1 and was supposed to go back to China five days later. The 33-year-old instead stayed at the casino and started messaging his aunt in China posing as the kidnapper. Liu went as far as sending a photo of his travel document as a form of proof.

Authorities quickly tracked him down

The woman told Liu’s father about the incident and he proceeded to contact the Singapore Police Force (SPF). Central Police Division officers investigated the matter and extensively searched for Liu.

While loan sharking is illegal in Singapore, criminals often lend money to desperate gamblers and charge them extortionate interest rates.

They found him in the Marina Bay area less than three hours after receiving the call and discovered that he had a gambling debt as high as S$30,000 (US$22,560). Neither Liu nor any other party received any ransom money.

Facing the consequences

Liu is now facing as many as ten years in prison and/or a fine for his transgressions. In a statement about the case, the SPF underlined how seriously it takes a person either “knowingly or unwittingly” taking part in scams.

warned citizens to be careful when they get strange calls and messages

The authorities also warned citizens to be careful when they get strange calls and messages from unknown individuals, especially when the number originates from outside Singapore.

People faking their own kidnapping is not too uncommon. In October 2021, a woman in Spain convinced her husband to pay a €6,000 (US$6,564) ransom and proceeded to use the funds to play bingo.

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