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December 9, 2009

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Killer abductors: Parents in fear

AT least two children have been killed in a wave of abductions in a southern China city, one of them after a massive ransom was paid for his return.

The spate has caused a panic among parents in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, in the past six months.

Police in Shenzhen yesterday confirmed the deaths and kidnapping spree.

A fifth grader in the city's Futian District was murdered after he was abducted on October 20, police said.

The kidnappers killed the boy despite his parents paying US$500,000 to them for his safe return, China News Service reported yesterday.

Several abductions have also been reported in Nanshan District with at least one child killed, the report said.

No information was released about other abductions.

Police said they had launched an 80-day crackdown on the kidnapping of children and reassured parents that most abducted children were rescued "safe and sound," the report said.

However, many parents are blaming the city's Public Security Bureau for "slow action and almost silence" since tales of abductions emerged, Guangzhou-based Nanfang Daily reported yesterday.

Panic started to spread among parents in Shenzhen after online posters appeared in June on several BBS community Websites about child abductions happening in different parts of the city.

The BBS revelations were soon followed by mobile phone text messages sent among parents.

The city's police remained silent throughout the whole process while parents were massing at local school gates to pick their children up after classes due to abduction concerns, the newspaper said.

A mother, surnamed Wang, said she only became aware of the abductions via phone messages from friends.

Yuanlin Primary School, where the murdered boy in Futian District studied, said it tried to calm students by telling them he was transferred to another school.

The paper quoted a source as saying the kidnappers spent a long time watching schools and selecting pupils from well-to-do families.


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