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More than 50 Chinese teenagers held for ransom in Myanmar

By in News on

At least 50 teenagers from Shanxi province in northern China have been kidnapped since August in a scheme in which youths coming to Yunnan have been abducted and held for ransom in northern Myanmar's Kachin State.

Chinese media is reporting that a growing number of teenagers from the city of Yuncheng (运城) have been disappearing after telling their parents that they were going to Yunnan for employment or to visit friends. The Shanghai Daily reports:

Families later received phone calls from Myanmar demanding ransoms from 40,000 yuan (US$5,847) to 80,000 yuan for their kids, who were heard crying and saying they had been tortured. However, the average monthly income for people in Yuncheng is about 800 yuan, the report said.

Strangers in the phone call told parents to pay the ransom into designated bank accounts and told them their children were imprisoned in Maijayang, a town cross the boarder[sic] in Myanmar and famous for its casino industry.

Qiao was warned in the phone call to pay the money immediately, otherwise his son would have his skin torn off.

Some parents were told they would receive their children's fingers if they didn't follow instructions.

A victim told his mother on October 8 that he would be beaten to death if she failed to transfer money that day.

Police in Yuncheng have received dozens of reports but couldn't take action due to jurisdictional problems.

Yuncheng police said they suspect the kidnappers may include illegal immigrants from Yuncheng to Myanmar.

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