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Woman's abduction spotlights kidnappings in L.A. County's Chinese immigrant community

September 17, 2010 |  1:39 pm

It began as a daytime trip to a Santa Anita shopping mall with a man she met at a karaoke club.

But within hours, 21-year-old Liang would be crawling across the San Bernardino desert floor bleeding from her neck and desperate for help. She had met her alleged attacker just a week before her Sept. 8 kidnapping.

That day, DeQiang Song, a Chinese immigrant in the U.S. on a student visa, picked her up on their way to the mall but detoured to a desolate patch of desert between Victorville and Apple Valley. There, authorities said, he tied her up, before taking her phone to call her father and demand ransom.

Despite her father’s willingness to pay, Song allegedly proceeded to pull on latex gloves and strangle the petite woman with a cord. When he realized she was still breathing, authorities said he brandished a knife and slashed her throat.

He removed the restraints and left her body in the desert before driving off to pick up his ransom, authorities said.

Kidnapping is an all-too-common crime in the San Gabriel Valley’s large Asian immigrant community, and it's a crime that often goes unreported. Rarely are the authorities called, and ransoms are often paid. But the woman’s father called the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

A search was launched for the woman while detectives coached the victim’s father, encouraging him to negotiate with his daughter’s attacker to help them build a case for arrest. The two went back and forth in their native Mandarin, agreeing on $10,000 in cash.

By the early morning hours of the next day, the drop-off was made in a parking lot. As Song moved to pick up the sack, authorities went in and arrested him.

Song, 24, has been charged with kidnapping for ransom and attempted first-degree murder, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. Authorities said after Song left to pick up the ransom, Liang, whose last name is being withheld, regained consciousness and crawled to a house half a mile away, where a resident called for help.

She was airlifted to a nearby hospital, and is now recovering at home, authorities said. Dried blood was eventually found where she had been attacked. The details of the kidnapping were shared Friday by sheriff’s detectives.

Authorities believe that due to the complexity of the kidnapping, Song, who had lived in Chicago before recently moving to Southern California, might have been involved in similar crimes in the past. No particular unsolved cases have been identified yet, authorities said.

Sheriff Lee Baca said the area’s Chinese community has historically been distrustful of law enforcement, but that the relationship is improving.

-- Robert Faturechi in Monterey Park