Dating app used to lure two robbery victims: police

VANCOUVER — Richmond police are investigating two separate incidents of lonely lovers being targeted through a Chinese dating app.

In each case, the victim made plans through Tantan — China’s version of Tinder — to meet up with who they believed was a woman named Stephanie before they were ambushed and robbed.

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On Sept. 8 just after 7 a.m., a 32-year-old man was waiting at a southwest Richmond residence to meet with their supposed date when two suspects approached the man and assaulted him. The victim was able to escape.

The following day around 3 a.m., a 23-year-old Vancouver man planned to meet a Tantan user, also using the moniker Stephanie, at a home in central Richmond. When he arrived, the man was approached by three suspects, one of whom was brandishing a knife.

The suspects abducted the man and, driving the victim’s own vehicle, took him to a bank in the 3700-block of No. 3 Road and forced him to withdraw money from an ATM. The trio then took the man’s personal items and clothing before later releasing him.

“Police are warning the public to exercise caution whenever Tantan or other similar dating apps are used. Unless trust is guaranteed, it is inherently dangerous to meet strangers in non-public areas,” said RCMP Cpl. Dennis Hwang.

“These two incidents in such close proximity are highly concerning to police.”

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