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December 16, 2009

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Young deaf-mutes lured into pickpocketing gang: teacher

YOUNG deaf-mutes have been lured by criminal gangs to join them as pickpockets, a special education teacher alleged after 20 teenagers disappeared from school.

Police are investigating the disappearance of deaf-mute pupils from Liling Special Education School in central China's Hunan Province, according to the school's teacher, Yang Lihong, news Website Hunan Online reported yesterday.

The latest case was with five students aged 16 to 20 who left the school four months ago, leaving notes saying they were going to work, the teacher said.

Last month one of them returned, revealing that they had been lured by a former girl classmate to Changchun, capital city of northeast China's Jilin Province, the Website reported.

On arrival, their ID and mobile phones were taken away and they were forced to work as pickpockets, said the student, surnamed Li.

Li told his father that he had been caught by police red-handed but declined to tell more.

The experience has left a strong negative impact on Li, because he didn't leave the house since returning home, his father told the Website.

His father guessed that Li probably hid some of the money he was forced to steal and used it to buy a train ticket home.

The classmate whom the missing young man mentioned was an 18-year-old girl, according to their teacher Yang, who interpreted for the Website reporter during an interview with a girl who is hospitalized in the province's Liling City, after a traffic accident.

The girl had told Zhang Jinyin, father of one of the missing young men, that if they find the young men, she would be in big trouble, according to a record Zhang showed of a written talk between him and the girl.

"I can't tell, or some people will take revenge on me," she wrote in the talk.

Her mother said the girl was a victim of the criminal organization herself, referring to her miserable experience of being cheated and sold to other places for 6,000 yuan (US$880). She seized a chance to escape, but is hunted by those who seek revenge, the mother revealed.

"Most young deaf-mute people were easy to be cheated by job promises," Yang said.


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