Chinese crook clamps bike to man’s car and demands US$30 ‘ransom’ for its removal
Local police use bolt cutters to free vehicle after owner refuses to give in to criminal’s demands
A car owner in northern China called in the police when he was stopped in his tracks by a new kind of extortion threat.
The motorist awoke on Sunday morning in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province, to find a bicycle from a local sharing scheme clamped to the wheel of his car and a demand for 200 yuan (US$30) for the combination to the lock, Yanzhao Evening News reported on Monday.
The victim, who was identified only by his surname Zhang, parked the vehicle on the street on Saturday night as he could not find a space in an undercover car park, the report quoted him as saying.
A note attached to the vehicle demanded he pay the “ransom” in the form of a digital red envelope – a modern version of the traditional Chinese gift – via the messaging app WeChat, and provided the necessary account details.
Zhang, however, was not a man to be bullied and instead contacted the local police who were able to release the bike with the help of a pair of high-power bolt cutters.
Police officer Yang Zhanjun was quoted as saying he had never before encountered such a form of extortion. The report did not say if the police had been able to identify the perpetrator.
In the past, criminals have been known to “kidnap” licence plates and even wing mirrors from luxury cars and demand ransoms for their safe return, the report said. It did not say what type of car Zhang owned.
Yang said motorists should use car parks fitted with surveillance cameras wherever possible to reduce the chances of becoming a victim of car crime.