- A 65-year-old man has been charged with extortion after kidnapping his granddaughter for ransom.
- He sought $72,000 from his daughter and son-in-law to pay off his gambling debt, according to local media reports.
- The man, known only as Yuan, argued that the kidnapping should only be considered a family feud.
A Shanghai man has been sentenced to jail for kidnapping his own granddaughter so he could support his gambling addiction with the ransom money.
The kidnapping, orchestrated by a 65-year-old man identified only by his last name, Yuan, was first reported by the Shanghai Magazine of Laws and Rules. The legal news outlet did not specify when the incident occurred, but wrote on April 18 that Yuan had just begun serving his prison sentence.
Yuan started her plan by picking up her four-year-old granddaughter from her kindergarten and taking her out to eat and shop without her mother knowing, the Journal reported.
The girl’s mother then arrived at the school and realized that her daughter had disappeared. She received a message from Yuan demanding $72,000, according to the Journal.
“Take out 500,000 yuan in three days, or you’ll never see your precious daughter again!” Yuan told her daughter, according to the Journal.
He called Yuan to persuade him to give up the plot, but was unsuccessful in convincing him, the outlet reported.
Yuan was arrested that night after his daughter reported him to the police, and was charged with extortion and sent to Xinshou Prison, a facility in Shanghai, according to the Journal.
He protested the charges in court, saying the kidnapping should be considered a family feud and not a crime, according to the Journal. Chinese courts can designate some crimes within families: including domestic violence — like family matters.
The Journal did not specify the length of Yuan’s sentence, but cited police reports saying he has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Yuan was desperate for the ransom money because he had racked up a large gambling debt and was diagnosed with stomach cancer, the Journal reported. His wife divorced him and he began to neglect his business due to his gambling habits, according to the outlet.
While serving his sentence, Yuan went on a hunger strike and had difficulty getting along with other prisoners, the Journal reported.
“I’m 65 and my daughter still haunts me. She doesn’t want me to get better, she just wants me to die!” he kept telling authorities, the Journal wrote.
But he stopped resisting after his daughter and ex-wife contacted him in prison, and the Journal reported that he has since cooperated with prison authorities.
Since then, the account of Yuan’s kidnapping has been shared on social media by police departments, a municipal courtand prosecutors through China.
Several major Chinese media, as the state newspaper The PaperThey have also carried the story.
people in Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, and Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitterhe reacted with horror to the news of Yuan’s actions.
“I would cut off contact with him. I have no idea what he would do after he got out of prison.” wrote a Weibo user.