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September 22, 2011

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'Abducted' child actually begging with his father

A CHILD in local Metro stations who passengers feared may have been abducted from his family was in fact begging with his father, police said yesterday.

A photograph posted on a microblog of the three-year-old boy with a long-haired man on a Metro service has been retweeted almost 1,000 times since Monday.

The picture was uploaded by local office worker Zhao Shuai who photographed the exhausted-looking boy holding a plastic cup at 10pm on a Line 2 service. He said the child was being scolded by the man accompanying him.

Zhao said the boy kept looking at his hand, as the cup seemed to be stuck to his palm to make him keep begging. "I thought, 'surely that man cannot be his relative,'" Zhao said.

Metro police located the pair on Tuesday night at the Xujiahui Station on Line 1 and discovered they were father and son.

The 24-year-old father, surnamed Hou, from northwest China, showed police the boy's birth certificate, which was confirmed as authentic.

The boy had been begging with his parents in the city's subway since he was born, said Zhou Zhi, a police officer involved in the investigation.

Police accommodated them in a relief station and lectured the father, Zhou said.

"That's all what we can do. The father may continue forcing the boy to beg after they leave," a police press official told Shanghai Daily.

"I feel even more aggrieved to be told the man is the child's father, because we can do nothing to stop the boy from begging," Zhao said.

Zhou Zhou, a local volunteer working to identify abducted children, said most child beggars encountered in the city were with their parents or relatives.


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