61 youngsters were abducted, but only 25 have been reunited with families Seven leaders of a child abduction network have been sentenced to death in Guizhou for orchestrating the kidnapping of dozens of children in 2003 and selling them to families in other provinces. Altogether, 45 members of the gang were arrested last year after 61 children were snatched off the street in broad daylight or taken from their homes during the night. Only 25 of the children have been reunited with their families. The children, mainly boys under five, were sold to counties in Henan and Hebei . The boys were called 'quality goods' and sold for about 10,000 yuan, while girls, described as 'substandard goods', were offered for just several thousand yuan. The Higher People's Court in Guizhou has sentenced the seven kingpins to death and ordered the rest to serve between five years and life in prison. Police in the city of Anshun started receiving reports about abductions in crowded vegetable markets and downtown areas at the start of 2003. In one case, Cao Meiying's six-month-old baby was taken from her arms while at home, Xinhua reported. Several gangsters kicked open her door and threatened Ms Cao with a knife before seizing her child. An Anshun Public Security Bureau officer working on the case told the South China Morning Post the gang's ringleader, Hu Qijia , became addicted to the easy money earned from abductions after he reaped 5,000 yuan from his first kidnapping. The officer said the Guizhou native, aged about 40, had a small business selling fried dough sticks on the streets of Anshun with his wife before he formed the kidnapping network. Hu told police it was too hard to make a living in his regular business compared with people-trafficking. The officer said some parents were still searching and lodging petitions for the recovery of their missing children. Liu Xingxiang , a Guizhou native who lost his then six-year-old son in Yunnan in 2003, said he was still hoping the boy would come back. 'I've heard the ring was smashed. My son's name is not on the police's recovered list,' he said. Mr Liu, 32, was one of more than 30 parents from Yunnan and Guizhou who appealed to the Ministry of Public Security in Beijing last year to address their cases. 'I've heard no news from the governments. All my efforts are useless. But I'll still be waiting,' he said. Cases of child trafficking have been frequently reported on the mainland in recent years. Analysts have blamed the abductions on the widening wealth gap, the high number of infertile couples, the one-child policy and the belief that boys are a greater blessing than girls.