Police have rescued a three-year-old girl seven hours after she was lured away by a stranger at a crowded tourist attraction in south China.
Chilling surveillance footage shows the female suspect walking next to the child before grabbing her hand and leading her away at the Yulinzhou Nature Scenic Reserve in Dongfang, Hainan province on Friday evening.
The child had been separated from her grandparents in the crowd when the woman, identified as 32-year-old Fu, noticed her crying alone, according to police in a statement yesterday.
Following investigations, officers finally located the girl at a motel room several kilometres away at about 1:20am. She was uninjured and reunited with her parents, the Dongfang police said in a statement on WeChat.
Police said Fu lured the girl away by saying she would buy her a drink. After the child followed her, she carried her on to a motorcycle and left the area.
She brought the girl to a nearby motel where she and several others were staying at. Police eventually raided the room and found the child.
Fu has been criminally detained by police for suspicion of child abduction. Three other adults, two men and a women, were detained and officers are investigating their involvement in the crime.
Child abduction and trafficking has long been a serious social problem in China, with an estimated 70,000 children going missing each year for forced labour, adoption or prostitution, according to a previous report by China Daily.
Chinese courts ruled on 2,806 cases involving the abduction and trafficking of women and children between 2015 and 2018, according to the Supreme People’s Court cited by Global Times.
In January, a human trafficker was caught abducting a three-year-old girl in broad daylight after she used a toy to lure the girl away from her friends in Pingdingshan, Henan province.
The woman, who turned out to be a deaf-mute, later told authorities through a sign language interpreter that someone had paid her 10,000 yuan (£1,139) to abduct children.
Zhang Baoyan, a delegate to the 13th National People’s Congress, in March called for an amendment to the Chinese law to impose the death penalty on those convicted of trafficking women and children.
Zhang, who has been a long-time advocate for women’s and children’s rights in the country, also called for a stiffer punishment for buyers, who fuel the trade but are seldom held accountable.
Currently, convicted buyers of human trafficking victims face no more than three years in prison.