The Canadian Press
A Chinese student believed to be the victim of a violent abduction is out of hospital and waiting to be reunited with his family as police hunt for the men suspected of kidnapping him, officers said yesterday.
York Regional Police said Wanzhen Lu spent only a brief time in hospital after he was found safe Tuesday night in Gravenhurst, Ont., more than 150 km away from the underground parking garage in Markham, Ont., where he allegedly was forced into a van and driven away three days earlier.
Cst. Andy Pattenden said Lu, 22, has been taken back to York Region, where he will meet with investigators and reconnect with his anxious family, who flew in from China after his disappearance.
But Pattenden said the man’s safe return is only the latest development in what he describes as a “relentless” investigation, adding police now are focused on finding the people believed responsible.
“We still have four suspects that are still outstanding in this investigation,” he noted.
“Four suspects that were willing to go into that underground parking garage, took Mr. Lu with a significant amount of force, loaded him into a van, and basically kept him wherever they kept him for 72 hours before finally releasing him.”
Lu’s disappearance made headlines as soon as police detailed his alleged abduction.
Investigators said the student was walking with a friend toward an elevator after parking his car at his condominium around 6 p.m. on Saturday when a black wheelchair-accessible minivan came up behind him.
Police alleged three men jumped out of the van while the driver remained behind the wheel, grabbed Lu, shocked him multiple times with a stun gun, and dragged him into the vehicle before speeding off.
Lu’s friend, a young woman, was not injured in the incident but was traumatized by what police called the “brazen” and “violent” incident.
Security images released by police showed three male suspects wearing winter jackets with their hoods wrapped tight to their faces.
Police issued numerous appeals to the alleged abductors to release Lu, which Pattenden said they likely did on Tuesday.
He said Lu showed up at a home near Gravenhurst asking for help.
He added police currently believe the alleged abductors dropped him off in the area, but did not say where investigators suspect he was being held.
Pattenden said Lu’s parents have been very co-operative with the investigation and are keen to be reunited with him.
“As soon as the good news came through, our investigators let them know right away,” he remarked.
“I’m sure that they were very relieved because they were very concerned for the well-being of Mr. Lu, as were we.”
Police previously said they found the vehicle in which Lu was driven away shortly after his disappearance.
On Tuesday, they arrested a 35-year-old Toronto man in connection with the case, but Pattenden said he’s since been released unconditionally and without any charges being laid.