Police in Canada are searching for a Chinese university student following an armed kidnapping using “significant” violence over the weekend.
Wanzhen Lu, 22, was shocked several times with a stun gun by three masked attackers on Saturday evening in the city of Markham, Ontario, north of Toronto. A fourth person waited in a nearby vehicle.
Police say Lu, who also goes by the name Peter, was attacked as he and a friend walked towards an elevator in the parking lot under his condominium. Lu was then dragged into a nearby vehicle and taken away. His female companion was unharmed but police said she was traumatised.
At a media conference over the weekend, police said they were shocked by the “significant” violence used to abduct Lu.
On Monday, York regional police released photos of the vehicle they believe was used in the kidnapping: a black, wheelchair-accessible Dodge Caravan. The vehicle was recovered on Sunday following tipoffs from the public.
Police tweeted out a photo of Lu, 22, who was wearing a black shirt, blank pants and glasses at the time of his abduction.
Officials also provided images of the attackers, including one of the attackers wearing a bulky jacket and a black balaclava obscuring the face.
The kidnapping could draw increased scrutiny from Chinese officials, as the two countries remain locked in a diplomatic row. In late December, Canadian officials detained Meng Wanzhou, a telecoms executive at Huawei, following a request by American law enforcement. Since the arrest, two Canadians have been detained in China, a move largely seen as a retaliatory by Canada and its allies. In recent weeks, China has halted imports of canola from Canadian farmers – a major blow to the multibillion-dollar industry.
Lu’s family were travelling to Canada, Constable Andy Pattenden of York regional police told the Canadian Press. There had been no contact with the kidnappers, he said, and no ransom demands had been made.