16 Jul 2008

Abduction case now critical: police

11:58 am on 16 July 2008

Police working on the case of an abducted child, Cina Ma, aged five, now describe the situation as critical.

She was bundled into a car by a masked man outside her home in Corricvale Way, in Harrowglen, Albany, at 12.30pm on Monday.

On Tuesday, Detective Inspector Steve Wood said there were fears for her safety.

Police maintain there is not a lot of information that can be released publicly because of the sensitive nature of the investigation.

They believe her abduction was a premeditated act and not random.

Detective Inspector Wood says the girl's safety remains a top priority.

Police say all lines of enquiry are being followed. They would not reveal if a ransom demand has been made of if they believe the child is still in Auckland.

Detective Inspector Wood says her family is very distraught.

Family plea

At a news conference on Tuesday afternoon, the family made a public plea for her safe return, saying they were heartbroken by the abduction.

The girl's aunt, Hong Zhou, who was accompanied by Cina's mother, Jin Zhou, described her as a happy girl and said the family did not want her harmed.

She asked anyone with knowledge of the abduction to contact police.

Cina's mother was tearful and appeared drained. She did not to speak.

Police said on Tuesday morning that their number one priority was getting Cina back.

They are appealing for any sightings of a silver vehicle. Anyone with information is asked to call the North Shore police centre on 09 477 5000. A confidential text line has been set up on 027 27 27 699.


Meanwhile, there's growing speculation among members of the Chinese community about a possible motive for the abduction.

Some suggest it could be a form of revenge against the Ma family, while others believe it's a domestic incident.

A family friend, Crown Xu told Nine to Noon on Wednesday that abduction is common is Asia, but not in New Zealand.

Publisher David Soh of the Mandarin Pages newspaper, says he's increasingly concerned for the child's safety.

The Asian Council on Reducing Crime says the abduction increases safety concerns for Asians.

Chair Rosa Chow, who comes from Hong Kong, told Morning Report that Asian people need to adjust their expectations.