A Chinese mother allegedly faked the kidnapping of her 11-year-old son as a way of testing whether her husband really cared about her and their child.
The boy’s mother, a 33-year-old woman named Chen, filed a fake missing persons report in Yueqing City, on Friday. She told police that her son had last been seen near his school and gave them a description of his clothes. The case was declared a top priority and huge resources were allocated to an ample search operation in Yueqing and neighboring Wenzhou. The kidnapping attracted national attention, particularly because of the 500,000 yuan ($72,000) reward offered by the family for any information about the boy’s whereabouts, and online articles about his disappearance were read hundreds of millions of times just on social media platform Weibo. Everyone was fearing the worst, but it turned out that 11-year-old Huang had been safe and sound in the care of a relative all along.
Five days into the search operations, police stumbled on evidence that Chen had been lying from the very beginning. CCTV footage from a parking lot near the scene of the alleged kidnapping showed the young mother telling Huang to go wait in another car, while she went to file the fake missing persons report. After running a search on the car that the boy had gotten into, police forces headed to a village near Yueqing and found Huang in the care of a relative of the family.
Chen was detained and charged with “creating and deliberately spreading false information“, but what’s even more bizarre is that according to an official police statement, she staged her own son’s kidnapping because she had recently been in an argument with her husband and wanted to test his love for them.
Feedback on this bizarre conclusion of a case that had garnered nationwide attention and support in China can be described as a mix of relief and anger. People are glad that the boy has been found safe and sound, but believe the woman should be severely punished for duping an entire country and wasting considerable public resources.
“Everyone is happy that the child is safe, but this kind of family member must be seriously dealt with! This not only wastes everyone’s time and energy, it is emotionally exhausting and wastes national resources. This is over the top!“ read one Weibo comment which was liked more than 7,000 times.