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January 20, 2010

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Jail for father who abandoned son, 2

A FATHER who abandoned his two-year-old son but told police the boy had gone missing was jailed for nine months by a local court yesterday.

Zheng Weihua, 37, a Jiangxi Province native, told Songjiang District People's Court he abandoned the boy because he couldn't cope.

Zheng, who ran a successful bookstore in his hometown, had opened a bookstore in the city's Songjiang University Town last March.

He thought the store would be profitable because of the number of university students. But it had been losing money since it opened.

Zheng couldn't afford his daily expenses, such as his son's milk powder, his daughter's tuitions and money for his parents, and relatives and friends who had lent him money to open the bookstore had begun to ask when their loans would be repaid.

On April 25, 2009, Zheng took the boy with him to work. He returned in the afternoon and told his wife the boy had gone missing and that he had reported it to police.

He told police he left the boy asleep in his car but that when he returned about an hour later, the boy was gone and the car door was open.

Zheng, urged by his wife, also sought help from the media.

Reports of the boy's disappearance prompted many people to offer help and comfort to the family. Meanwhile, a police search for the boy continued.

Because of all the attention, Zheng became nervous and called a police station in neighboring Jiaxing City, Zhejiang Province, because that was where he had abandoned the boy.

Jiaxing police confirmed they had picked up the boy and that he was being looked after.

Zheng pretended to be happy to tell his wife their son was found and they went to Jiaxing to fetch him.

But when Zheng notified local police the boy had been found, they became suspicious about why Zheng had only called that particular police station and not others.

When the police began to ask questions, Zheng admitted the truth.


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