In a shocking case that exemplifies the dangers of gambling addiction, a Chinese grandfather kidnapped his own granddaughter to pay off a debt of 500,000 yuan ($96,600).
A shocking tale of addiction and desperation
According to a report in the Shanghai Law Journal, the 65-year-old man, surnamed Yuan, picked up his four-year-old granddaughter from school and then threatened his own daughter, saying that he would not release the child unless a ransom covering his gambling debt was paid within three days, along with a death threat.
The daughter reported the incident to the police, and Yuan was subsequently arrested and imprisoned for extortion.
While in prison, Yuan tried to avoid responsibility for the crime by shifting the blame onto his daughter and claiming that she was “ungrateful.”
“I’m 65 years old and my daughter is suing me. She never wants me to get better. She wants me dead,” he said. Yuan believed that the incident was a “family” issue, rather than a legal one.
According to the report, Yuan staged a hunger strike while in custody and had difficulty getting along with his fellow inmates. Eventually, the conflict was resolved with the intervention of the police and Yuan’s ex-wife, and Yuan’s daughter wrote a letter of understanding on his behalf.
Afterwards, he began to adjust to prison life and cooperate with the authorities.
One can only imagine the emotional toll this traumatic event would have had on the young child and her mother, who was put in an impossible situation by her own father. It is a stark reminder of the destructive power of gambling addiction and the lengths to which people can go to fuel their habits.
Additionally, the fact that Yuan attempted to absolve himself of responsibility and blame his daughter for his actions raises important questions about accountability and the role of addiction in criminal behaviour.
It is also troubling to note that child abduction was rampant in China between the 1980s and 2010s, a period that coincided with the implementation of the one-child policy in 1980. While cases of child trafficking have decreased in recent years, it remains a persistent issue in the country. One wonders what more can be done to protect vulnerable children and families from such heinous crimes.
The story gained attention from several major Chinese news outlets and a video recounting the events has been viewed over three million times on Weibo.
Chinese commenters on the web were rightfully outraged by the kidnapping and the grandfather’s actions thereafter, with many calling for him to be held accountable for his crimes. It is clear that extortion and violence are not “family matters” but serious criminal offences that demand justice.
The time and location of the kidnapping remain unknown.
It is important that we continue to shine a light on such cases and work to prevent them from happening in the future.