DC police: College students targeted in kidnapping, extortion schemes

WASHINGTON — Kidnapping and extortion schemes have been targeting college students of Asian descent in D.C., police warned Friday.

People claiming to be affiliated with the Chinese Embassy or an international law enforcement agency contacted the students, police said, and accused them of money laundering. Large amounts of money were demanded to avoid criminal charges.

On Sept. 13, for instance, a woman was reported missing, and investigators found she was the victim of what police called “a virtual kidnapping and extortion incident.” And in incidents on Aug. 29, Sept. 5 and Sept. 10, suspects had “claimed the victim was part of a money-laundering scheme and demanded payment.”

These incidents remain under investigation.

D.C. police remind the public that law enforcement agencies and foreign embassies don’t solicit payments over the phone or on social media. If you get such demands in a phone call, hang up. If it’s over social media, don’t respond.

Anyone with information about these schemes is asked to call D.C. police at 202-727-9099 or text their tip to 50411. Crime Solvers currently offers a reward of up to $1,000 to anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest and indictment of anyone responsible for a crime committed in the District.

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Jack Pointer

Jack contributes to WTOP.com when he's not working as the afternoon/evening radio writer.

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