It’s every speculator’s worst nightmare: Dreaming of wealth and status, you decide to play the stock market but end up losing every penny you own. What do you tell your family? And more importantly, how do you get your money back?
For one Chinese man surnamed Liu, the answer was simple: Kidnap yourself, and get your wife to pay the ransom.
According to Chinese media reports, Liu’s friend, surnamed Wu, checked him into a hotel room in Chuzhou, a city in eastern China’s Anhui province, last Tuesday evening. Liu had lost money on the stock market and couldn’t face his family, the official Weibo microblog of the Anhui police stated.
Once inside the room, Liu proceeded to stage his own abduction, rearranging the furniture to give the impression that a struggle had taken place. Photographs shared by the Anhui police show Liu bound to a chair by the cord of a desk lamp, a towel stuffed into his mouth, and — somewhat bizarrely — no pants on.
Posing as his own kidnapper, Liu then sent the photographs to his wife, demanding a ransom of 100,000 yuan ($15,000) — or else he would be “finished off.” Instead of paying the money, however, Liu’s wife called Wu and convinced him to report the incident to the police. In the early hours of Wednesday morning, officers from Anhui’s Fengyang County sped to the scene of the purported crime to find the trouserless trickster alive and well, albeit in a room suspiciously devoid of forensic evidence.
With his pants back on and under interrogation, Liu told police that he had heard a sudden knock at the door during the night of his stay. When he opened the door, two masked men forced their way into the room, knocked him out, tied him to a chair, and sent photographs to his wife, he claimed. But his plan was scuttled by the hotel’s surveillance footage.
Liu was duly charged with disturbing public order and sentenced on Saturday to six days’ detention. Reports did not say whether Wu was implicated.
On Chinese social media, netizens took a dim view of Liu’s actions. “An IQ like his, and he still plays the stocks?” asked an incredulous user on online news platform Sohu.
“China certainly isn’t lacking in shabi,” wrote another user on news website iFeng, using a vernacular term for someone prone to flights of idiocy.
Liu is not the first to fake an abduction in pursuit of quick cash. Last month, police in Fuyang County, also in Anhui, detained a man for eight days after he posed as his own kidnapper and demanded a 5,000-yuan ransom from his sister. The man claimed that he had recently failed his driving test and argued with his girlfriend, and wanted to spend the money on a holiday to drown his sorrows.
Editor: Qian Jinghua.
(Header image: E+/VCG)