Thieves Target Visiting Chinese Exchange Students

SPOKANE — Car break-ins can be a fairly common occurrence in Spokane, as a group of students visiting from China found out the hard way last week.

The group of nine students are visiting the Spokane with an organization called Pacific Rim Exchange Services, which takes kids on tours of colleges around the region.

“Each day we take them to a different college campus and given them an opportunity to take some real practical English,” David Ladines, president of Pacific Rim Exchange Services, said.

However when the students went to visit Manito Park they got an education in crime. While visiting the park someone broke into their van and stole a backpack belonging to a member of the tour group.

Inside the backpack were some electronics items and $1,000 that the teen was holding for some of the younger members of the tour group.

“I really feel hopeless but when I found my American friends trying my best to help me I was really moved,” Hank, the teen whose backpack was stolen, said.

Already people in the community have donated $500 to help re-pay what the kids lost to the thief. If you’d like to help them out you can go to

As for Hank, if you thought the experience dampened his enthusiasm for being in the United States, you thought wrong. Hank says he plans on attending graduate school here in Eastern Washington.

“This is the first time I went to the university in America so it’s very amazing,” he said.