Police in central China have detained three people over an alleged fake abduction of an infant in a family drama that has played out in national and social media.
The drama began in Zhoukou, Henan province, on Thursday morning when the four-month-old boy was reportedly taken from his mother, surnamed Liu, after she fainted in a park.
Liu’s husband, surnamed Zhu, made a public appeal to the abductor and offered a 100,000 yuan (US$14,480) reward for the child’s safe return, The Beijing News reported.
On Sunday, after days of intensive local social media coverage, Zhoukou police said the baby had been “safely retrieved” from the provincial capital of Zhengzhou and was in good health.
Quoting police, Dahe Daily reported that dozens of police officers trawled through hours of security camera footage from the park and interviewed various witnesses but came up empty-handed. The police could not identify a suspect and concluded that no abduction had taken place at the park.
Police bulletins about the search for the child then began describing the incident as a “loss” rather than an “abduction” and said the boy had been “retrieved” rather than “rescued”.
On Monday, police alleged that Liu and unnamed others had orchestrated the “abduction” because of “problems with the family”, and said the person who had taken the baby had caved in to mounting social pressure and taken the child to police in Zhengzhou, The Beijing News reported.
At the same time, The Beijing News reported that the baby’s biological father was not Zhu, and that Liu had had an affair with a high school classmate. The abduction drama was an attempt to unite the baby with his biological father, it said.
The report did not name the father, but the website of the city government of Chuzhou, Anhui province, carried a statement from the disciplinary committee of the Chuzhou Military Region which said Wang Yidi, political commissar of Langya district’s People’s Armed Forces Department, was a suspect in the abduction.
“We will not tolerate it and will punish severely if the investigation confirms the online allegation,” the statement said.
A police document leaked online said the baby was taken from Liu’s home to Zhengzhou by one of Liu’s friends and the child’s biological aunt.
“The biological father wanted to have the baby so they wanted to raise the baby in the home of his sister in Zhengzhou first,” The Beijing News quoted a police source as saying.
The mother, who is still feeding her child, was not in police custody, but the friend who was involved in the plot, the biological father’s mother and his sister, have all been detained.
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This article Three detained by Chinese police over alleged baby abduction in Henan province first appeared on South China Morning Post