Rescued children not yet claimed

PUBLISHED : Monday, 31 January, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 31 January, 2000, 12:00am

Fourteen children recently rescued by police from their abductors are still waiting at a welfare home in Guizhou province to be reunited with their parents.

A spokeswoman for Guiyang Welfare Home, where the children are staying, said yesterday they appeared to be in good spirits.

Some have waited for about three weeks but their parents have failed to show up.

'They appear to be all right. Children don't worry too much as long as they are fed,' she said, adding that, among them, seven came just three days ago.

The children - a total of 39 - were recovered and sent to Guiyang in three groups after police smashed a human-trafficking syndicate.

Police were still checking the DNA of the children to confirm their identities, mainland media reported.

The gang abducted children - mostly from poor rural families - and sold them to families in Fujian and Guangdong.

China Youth Daily yesterday said officers had arrested 25 suspects and were looking for another 24. Police described the syndicate as one of the largest uncovered in China.

According to official media, more than 700 parents have approached Guiyang Welfare Home since the plight of the children was publicised early this month.

Some newspapers began to question the future of the children, saying many came from destitute families.

The China Youth Daily asked whether reuniting the children with their families was best for the children, since most had been adopted by well-to-do families in the south.

In some cases, the children might become orphans if the police were unable to find their real parents.

According to the Guangzhou-based Southern Weekend, the children are aged between one and seven years old.

With a price tag of up to 10,000 yuan (HK$9,400), they often changed hands several times before they were bought by their 'parents'.