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December 12, 2009

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Police explain silence over kidnaps

POLICE in south China's Shenzhen City have been staying silent while rumors of more than 20 abductions of children have been circulating among parents.

Shenzhen police have been criticized by parents for giving out no warnings of the spate of cases over the past six months.

But an unnamed officer told Guangzhou Daily yesterday that serious crimes such as kidnapping and murder were often kept secret when police were investigating to avoid causing panic.

The newspaper quoted a police insider as saying the city's public security bureau would be revealing details next week.

The insider said suspects seized by police had confessed their plot was inspired by a film. Hong Kong's "The Beast Stalker" is about a retired boxer who turns to kidnapping for money to survive.

Suspects are alleged to have confessed they could not find a job and decided to "make some quick money," as in the film, by targeting children from rich families and holding them for ransom, the report said.

One of the suspects, who is alleged to have killing a sixth-grader despite his parents paying a US$500,000 ransom said the film taught him to keep safe by frequently changing mobile phones, the report said.

Some parents in Shenzhen who feared that their children might become the targets of kidnappers have sold their expensive cars and villas and moved into normal residential complexes.


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