China - Ani Ashekian, 31, Hong Kong, 11 Nov 2008 - Canadian tourist

Discussion in '2000's Missing' started by Claudette, May 7, 2010.

  1. Claudette

    Claudette Alouette, je te plumerai

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    Ani went missing from Chungking Mansions in China, a heavily touristy and populated place. She was traveling alone. This missing persons case is very strange and is one I have been following, though nothing much has really happened. There are lots of articles and information at her website http://www.findani.com/


    Basic Overview:
    Ani Ashekian has been missing in Hong Kong since November 11, 2008 and authorities on the case have appealed for public assistance. Ashekian flew from Toronto to Beijing on Friday, October 24, 2008 and was scheduled return via India on December 15 but she has not been seen since November 10.

    Ashekian's passport indicates that she entered Hong Kong on November 9 and that she has not left Hong Kong. Ani was last seen in Chungking Mansions in Tsim Sha Tsui on the morning of November 10. Hong Kong Police confirmed via CCTV footage that a cash withdrawal (HK$3000/CAD$470) was made by Ani at just after midnight on November 10 in the Causeway Bay MTR station. Records show no further transactions on her bank accounts since that date.

    On 10 November, Ani called her sister and sent a text with a birthday message for her niece. Family and friends who heard from her regularly until then have had no contact since. The Foreign Affairs Department was contacted and Canadian authorities made a report to the Hong Kong Police on December 9, who made a public appeal for assistance.

    Unconfirmed reports place Ani throughout the territory, including Chung King Mansion, Causeway Bay, Wanchai, Lan Kwai Fong, Black’s Link, Po Lin Monastery, Tung Chung, Prince Edward, Yuen Long and the New Territories. The police continue to work closely with a team of local volunteers, actively following up leads received by telephone, email, people approaching volunteers on street and on the Facebook group, “Missing: Ani Ashekian” which has 12,945 members.

    Ani is 31, 1.6 metres (5’ 4”) tall, of normal build and weighs about 54kg (120lbs) with light complexion and brown hair. She was last seen wearing a white shirt and carrying a backpack.

    Anyone who may have seen her is urged to contact the Hong Kong Island Regional Crime Unit at 2860 7834 or any police station.
     
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  3. summer_breeze

    summer_breeze New Member

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  4. Snoopster

    Snoopster Well-Known Member

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    I just stumbled across this case today....not sure how I missed it originally.

    These kind of cases, where a young person is traveling on the other side of the world, and then simply disappears, are heartwrenching. It is so challenging for their families to find out what happened.

    A couple of other cases like these that I've followed here on WS are:
    Nicole Vienneau's case (missing in Syria - especially challenging spot right now!) and Aubrey Sacco (missing in Nepal).

    As Ani has been missing for three years now, some of the news articles are starting to disappear, so I think it would help to capture key points from a few of them here on the forum.

    First, here is an interesting article from Time magazine about Ani's case, written on the one-year anniversary of her disappearance. The bestselling author, Michael Connelly, took an interest in Ani's case, as the plot of one of his novels was eerily similar, and took place in the same location. He describes Chungking Mansions, where Ani was seen on the last day of contact with her family, and it's atmosphere.

    http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1937140,00.html
     
  5. Snoopster

    Snoopster Well-Known Member

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    What a vibrant young woman.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Ani Ashekian:
    163cm tall / 5' 4" | 55kg/120lb | Age 31 | Canadian Accent

    These photos are from the "Find Ani" website set up by her family. They were apparently taken in Beijing, where Ani was traveling immediately prior to heading to Hong Kong.

    http://www.findani.com/#Missing%20in%20Hong%20Kong
     
  6. otto

    otto Verified Expert

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    Of all the cases where it has been alleged that someone was taken for the sex trade industry, I think this is the only authentic instance. It is most likely that she met someone with an agenda, was lured into a situation where she was incapacitated and then she was moved to the sex trade trap ... where women are kept perpetually drugged and enslaved. I would be surprised if she is still alive, but it's possible. She could be anywhere in Asia by now.
     
  7. Snoopster

    Snoopster Well-Known Member

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    Timeline:

    Oct 24/2008: Ani and two friends from work travel to Beijing.

    Oct 30/08: Ani checks out of the Beijing YWCA. She doesn't share her remaining travel plans with her companions (something her sister says is not out of the ordinary).

    Nov 9/08: Ani makes a withdrawal from an ATM in Beijing

    Nov 9: Ani arrives in Hong Kong.

    Nov 10, in morning: Ani is seen at Chungking Mansions, a massive high rise area, with many hostels popular with backpacking travelers.

    Nov 10: Ani makes a call to her sister and then texts birthday wishes to her niece, the last contact her family or friends had with her.


    Nov 11: (very early hours; just after midnight) Ani is caught on CCTV withdrawing money from an ATM at the Causeway Bay MTR subway station. She appears to be looking over her shoulder. (Ani's VISA statement shows that Ani made two separate cash advances from Causeway Bay MTR station ATM's on Nov 10. It is not clear that they whether or not they were made under duress. Her family has identified her from the ATM video photos.)

    Over the next couple of days Ani's family and friends become concerned, as there is no contact with Ani, which is out of character.

    ??: Ani's family contacts Canadian Foreign Affairs.

    Dec 9: Canadian officials file a report with the Hong Kong police.

    Dec 15: Ani does not board her flight home to Canada from New Delhi, India. There is no official record of her leaving Hong Kong.

    Dec 24: Hong Kong police make a public appeal for assistance.

    There has been no cell phone of bank activity since Ani's disappearance.
     
  8. Snoopster

    Snoopster Well-Known Member

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    http://youtu.be/xqOUqCGlsbo

    Here is a youtube video with the last known images of Ani, at the bank machine. Apparently the two withdrawals that she made were at 12:03 a.m. and 12:08 a.m.
     
  9. otto

    otto Verified Expert

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    There's a book called People Who Eat Darkness about women that disappear or are drugged and abused in Japan. It shows the underbelly of a society that views wives in one category and foreign women in a different light.
     
  10. dotr

    dotr Well-Known Member

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    Found this case while looking for info. on an Asian, former U of T student who lived in Toronto, named " Ken" who might have info. regarding a missing person case from the 80's.
    http://www.websleuths.com/forums/sh...ot-for-info-about-1980-s-missing-persons-case
    Canada - Toronto police seek "Ken" for info about 1980's missing persons case
    This is the article that brought me to this thread..
    http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/...missing-persons-thousands-people-vanish-every


    Hong Kong’s missing persons: thousands of people vanish every year but the police don’t keep official records

    An average of 4,818 people are reported missing every year in Hong Kong - but we don’t know how many for sure, as the police don’t keep official records

    24 January, 2016

     
  11. dotr

    dotr Well-Known Member

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    http://www.police.gov.hk/ppp_en/06_appeals_public/missing/detail.html?id=hkihkirn08001236
    Welcome to The Hong Kong Police website

    mp256.jpg
    Ani Ashekian
     
  12. dotr

    dotr Well-Known Member

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    Bumping for Ani and hoping she will be located soon.
     
  13. MysteryMaven

    MysteryMaven Active Member

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    Interesting article
    http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1065968/ani-ashekians-journal-offers-new-clues-after-four-years-silence

    Snippet from article:

    She had left her journal behind in Canada. It details her state of mind before leaving.

    Shirra [Private investigator] passed the book to a police psychologist because he was concerned about her state of mind before her disappearance.

    Over the course of his investigation, he also found Ashekian had been acting strangely and had spoken about going to Argentina, where she said she had a job lined up. She also emptied at least one of her bank accounts.

    "This new information [journal] turned the investigation on its head in a way, because it did begin to look as though there was a possibility that she did actually plan to drop out and disappear," the [private investigator] said. "But this doesn't solve the problem as none of us believe that she could just drop out in Hong Kong and not come to somebody's attention."
    [Private investigator] also found out she spoke Portuguese. He requested local police find out from Macau authorities whether they had any record of her arriving there, although Hong Kong had no travel records of her leaving. The police have not replied yet.

    Chungking Mansions is a huge complex including guest houses, market, stalls, etc. with many hundreds of people, including illegal immigrants, passing thru constantly. If something happened to Ani there is seems it would be nearly impossible to trace. It is not a safe place for a single woman to stay alone. It is a hub of drug dealing and illegal activity. People go there to obtain fake passports, drugs, prostitutes.

    I watched the security video of the ATM withdrawals. It is after midnight and Ani is dressed casually. It doesn't appear she was dressed in "going out" attire and taking out cash to pay for drinks, food, etc. The 2 withdrawals within minutes is puzzling, unless she was limited in how much she could take out at a time. I wonder if she was in some kind of trouble and needed money to get out of it? Many possibilities here, and many unanswered questions.

    1. She stayed at Chungking mansions because it was cheap and ran in to foul play while staying there due to criminal elements there
    2. She stayed at Chungking mansions because she needed something from there-new passport for new life?
    3. Something happened to her in another part of Hong Kong and Chungking has nothing to do with her disappearance. If she was withdrawing cash to go sightseeing she would not have left an electronic trail of the next day's tourist activities.
    4. What exactly was this "state of mind" that is concerning? Did she write about being depressed and wanting to start a new life? What do people mean exactly when they say she was "acting strangely" before the trip?
    5. Who are the people she was traveling with before she went to Hong Kong alone, and do they have any insight into Ani's plans or state of mind?
     
  14. dotr

    dotr Well-Known Member

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    Wondering if AA had become newly interested in politics or religion before she left Canada, or perhaps met someone new?
    imo, speculation.
     
  15. MysteryMaven

    MysteryMaven Active Member

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    Just did a quick map check.
    The train station is across the bay from where Ani was staying. What was she doing there so late at night? Was she coming in from somewhere or going to someplace else?
     
  16. dotr

    dotr Well-Known Member

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    [video=youtube;Io5mNwfo5xA]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Io5mNwfo5xA[/video]
     
  17. dotr

    dotr Well-Known Member

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    Not likely, but since she had just phoned to wish one of her adored nieces a happy birthday, would she have withdrawn money to send a present?
    Or, Ani did not like the hotel and took out money to go elsewhere, or she most likely was planning on traveling somewhere and wanted to be early, or meet up with someone
    first?
    imo.
     
  18. dotr

    dotr Well-Known Member

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    This Canadian went missing in H.K.and eventually located deceased, under strange circumstances.
    http://www.ctvnews.ca/hong-kong-death-not-overdose-sister-says-1.746685
    Last Updated Saturday, May 19, 2012 7:00AM EDT

     
  19. MysteryMaven

    MysteryMaven Active Member

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    I guess I am wondering why she would be at the train station ATM. I am sure ATMs are common around Chungking Mansions. So why was she at a train station all the way across the bay after midnight withdrawing money.

    She could have met someone after parting ways with her traveling friends and had plans to meet them in Hong Kong. I can't find a public account of her activities between October 30 and Nov. 9th. She parted ways with friends on October 30th and apparently stayed in Beijing until Nov. 9th. That's a long time. I suppose she was sightseeing, but she could have met someone and planned to see them again in Hong Kong when she got there. I haven't seen any reports of unknown numbers on her cel though.

    Did it say somewhere that she was calling and texting family while at the train station, I must have missed that somewhere. 12 am Hong Kong time is 12 pm (lunch time) in Toronto, so that would make sense. Did she make any mention to anyone of any sightseeing or why she would be at Causeway Bay MTR
     
  20. MysteryMaven

    MysteryMaven Active Member

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    I watched the YouTube series on Ani
    [video=youtube;PVn_Q5daPPg]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVn_Q5daPPg"]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVn_Q5daPPg[/video]

    Interesting Points:

    1. Ani stayed in Beijing with her friends before she traveled to Hong Kong. Ani left her Beijing hotel without saying goodbye to anyone. She left the hotel room alone at 12:30 am and didn't return until the next morning. The 3 friends were all sharing a room and they were out when she returned to pack up her belongings. No note was left. The friends thought this was strange as there had been no fight or argument, no reason for her to leave without a goodbye.
    2. What Ani did from Oct. 30 (when she checked out of the hotel) to Nov. 9th is unknown. She last used her email on Nov. 5th. Where she stayed, who she came into contact with, and what she did during that time is not known.
    3. Hong Kong was not originally on her itinerary. She was supposed to go from Beijing to India to stay for 4 weeks then return to Toronto.
    4. She traveled by train to make her way from Beijing to Hong Kong
    5. The last contact with her family was well after the ATM photo, so we can posit that she was ok between 12:08 am (ATM photo) and 8:30 am (text to sister).
    6. Ani was planning to move to Argentina
    7. Ani's bags have never been located.
    8. There was a sighting reported of her at Chungking Mansions but no official record of check in or check out. From what I have read this is not unusual. This is a big high rise complex where many different people manage their block of "guest houses". It's not like using a regular hotel. I don't know if we can even assume she stayed there unless she mentioned it to a family member. The report of her being seen there must be solid but I don't have a source for it.
     
  21. dotr

    dotr Well-Known Member

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    That series of short videos were good!
    Did Ani 's behavior seem to change after her last trip to Costa Rica?
     

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