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Chinese Tourist Faked Own Kidnap to Recoup Gambling Loss

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Posted on: March 12, 2024, 06:09h. 

Last updated on: March 12, 2024, 10:32h.

A Chinese gambler took drastic measures after losing a chunk of money on a casino trip to Singapore. Liu Changjian, 33, is accused of faking his own kidnapping in an effort to terrorize his relatives into paying a phony ransom of around S$5,550 (US$4,200).

Liu Changjian, kidnap, Singapore, Marina Bay Sands
Liu Changjian messaged his aunt, claiming he had been kidnapped. But he was quickly found hanging out at the Marina Bay Sands, above. (Image: Marina Bay Sands)

Liu was expected to return to China on March 6, but was a no-show, The South China Morning Post reports. Shortly after, Lui’s aunt, Madam Liu Ya Bo, received messages via the Chinese social messaging app, WeChat, from an unknown person claiming that Liu had been kidnapped.

The purported abductor forwarded images of Liu’s travel documents as evidence that the nephew was in a tight spot. Rather than pay up, Liu’s family notified Singapore police of the alleged abduction.

For an allegedly kidnapped person, Liu proved to be conspicuously easy to locate. Police found him “safe and well” hanging out at the Marina Bay Sands within three hours of the ransom demand.

Lui was charged with attempted cheating and faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted. He pleaded not guilty in a Singaporean court via video link this week.

Self-Inflicted Kidnap  

Weirdly, fake kidnappings aren’t as rare as you might think. In 2019, a man from New York State was arrested for elaborately staging his own abduction to avoid paying out $50K in Super Bowl bets.

Robert Brandel, 60, organized a Super Bowl squares pool online and made up a bunch of names on the squares to give himself a better chance of winning. The scheme blew up in his face when none of his numbers hit, and he couldn’t afford to pay the winners.

Brandel decided a sensible solution would be to gaffer-tape himself up inside his truck and claim he had been robbed. Investigators became suspicious when he told them his kidnapping ordeal lasted for three days, but he appeared to have shaved that morning.

In 2011, Brazilian soccer player Somália claimed he had been carjacked at gunpoint before being robbed of money and jewelry. Security video later confirmed this to be false. It turned out the midfielder, who played for top-tier team Botafogo, was simply running late for training and needed a convincing excuse.

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