The Richmond RCMP responded to two incidents over the past weekend whereby users of the dating app, Tantan, have been targeted.
Tantan is a dating app developed by a Chinese company and is widely available on Android and IOS smartphone platforms in English, Chinese, Japanese and Korean. Similar to Tinder, users can swipe right to like someone or swipe left to pass, and those who are interested in each other can start chatting.
According to the RCMP, the first incident occurred Saturday shortly after 7 a.m., when a 32-year old male from Richmond arranged a meeting at a residence in southwest Richmond with another user whom he believed to be female using the name Stephanie.
“While the man was waiting, two suspects approached him and assaulted him. The victim managed to escape,” said the RCMP in a press release.
The second incident occurred the following day at around 3 a.m., when a 23-year-old male from Vancouver arranged to meet a Tantan user, also called Stephanie, at a residence in central Richmond.
When the man arrived, he was allegedly approached by three suspects, one of whom produced a knife.
"The suspects then abducted the victim, transported him using the victim’s vehicle to a bank in the 3700 block of No. 3 Road and forced him to withdraw funds from an ATM machine," the RCMP said in a press release.
The victim was then robbed and personal effects, including his clothing, were taken. He was later released by the suspects, according to the police.
"That's unusual, but I don't have more details on the cases for now," Dennis Hwang, spokesman for Richmond RCMP, told the Richmond News.
Hwang said this is the first time Richmond RCMP has received reports on attacks relating to dating app users.
“Police are warning the public to exercise caution whenever Tantan or other similar dating apps are used," said Hwang.
"Unless trust is guaranteed, it is inherently dangerous to meet strangers in non-public areas.
“These two incidents in such close proximity are highly concerning to police," he added.
The Richmond RCMP General Investigation Section has launched investigations into both cases.
Anyone with information regarding either of these two cases is asked to contact Constable L. Reid of the Richmond RCMP General Investigation Service at 604-278-1212 or send an email to Richmond_Tips@rcmp-grc.gc.ca