Chinatown kidnapping attempt just a miscommunication: VPD

Police in Vancouver now say that a woman who allegedly tried to walk off with a four-year-old during Saturday's Lunar New Year festivities was just trying to help the little girl.

Language barrier to blame for confusion during Saturday's Chinese New Year events at Tinseltown

The International Village Mall, at Pender Street and Abbott in Vancouver's Chinatown, is also known as Tinseltown. Police say a family reported that a woman tried to walk off with a four-year-old girl at the mall on Saturday during a Chinese New Year event, but it appears now that the alleged abductors were just trying to help. (CBC)

Police in Vancouver now say that a woman who allegedly tried to walk off with a four-year-old during Saturday's Lunar New Year festivities was just trying to help the little girl.

The Vancouver Police Department had issued a warning Thursday afternoon about an incident that happened at the International Village Mall at 88 West Pender, which many know as Tinseltown.

The family told police they saw a woman holding their child's hand, and leading her away. Family members intervened, and the woman then left the area with a male companion.

Since Thursday's warning was issued, police officers collected surveillance footage and identified and spoke with the woman and man involved in the alleged attempted abduction.

In a written statement, Vancouver police Sgt. Randy Fincham said police "now believe that they were just trying to help the little girl."

The man and woman believed the girl was lost, and were taking her to mall security when the family approached them, but a language barrier prevented the group from clearing up the confusion, he said.

“These types of situations are tough,” Fincham said. “We always try to err on the side of caution and alert the public as soon as possible. Thankfully, in this case, it appears there was no attempted abduction.”

Map: Tinseltown, 88 West Pender