Chinese Man Kidnapped in LA, Held on $2M Ransom

Cathy He
By Cathy He
August 21, 2018US News

The FBI is searching for a Chinese man who was kidnapped in the Los Angeles area and held by his captors on a $2 million ransom.

Luochen “Tony” Liao, 28, was kidnapped by three men in San Gabriel near downtown Los Angeles on July 16, said the FBI in a statement. He was last seen getting into a dark minivan at a shopping plaza on Valley Boulevard.

Authorities said Liao, a Chinese national, attended a business meeting at the shopping plaza, CBSLA reported. The three suspects involved in the kidnapping drove two cars—two in an SUV and one in a minivan—and took Liao away in the minivan.

After the kidnapping, the suspects demanded $2 million from Liao’s family for his return. The money was not paid, according to the FBI.

Liao is involved in a business selling high-end luxury cars.

A witness reported seeing one of the suspects, who has been identified as “David.” The FBI has released a sketch of the man who they believe to be an acquaintance of Liao, AP reported.

David police sketch
A forensic sketch of “David”. (FBI)

“David” has been described as a Chinese male, 35 to 40 years old, who speaks Mandarin and is approximately 6 feet tall.

While the motive is unclear, investigators are looking into the possibility that Liao was involved in a business dispute.

“We do know some of the individuals [Liao] has been involved with may not have been the most reputable,” Gene Kowel of the FBI said during a press conference on Aug. 20.

Liao’s family, who live in China, has not heard from the kidnappers for about a month, since the initial ransom demand.

“Our hope is that Tony is still alive. We’re operating under the premise that he is still alive,” Kowel said.

“However, we do become concerned as these cases progress the chance of someone remaining alive can diminish.”

The family has offered a $150,000 reward for information that could lead to Liao’s return. While the FBI is offering a separate reward of $25,000 in the case.

“We’re negotiable with the reward that we’re willing to pay for this. He’s a deeply loved person by his family. He’s their only child, and they’re very, very concerned for him,” said Matthew Lombard, attorney for Liao’s family.

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