Chinese families torn as death sentence for kidnapper will end hope of finding woman who bought children
- Ringleaders and three accomplices convicted in Guangzhou court
- Father fears kidnapper will take identity of go-between ‘Aunt Mei’ to grave
Two child kidnap ringleaders were sentenced to death and three accomplices were jailed for taking nine boys in Guangdong more than 10 years ago.
The parents are still searching for their children, news website Thepaper.cn said. The death sentences raise the possibility that discovering the fate of the boys could be lost to their families.
Guangzhou Intermediate People’s Court announced the verdict on Friday, sentencing Zhang Weiping and Zhou Rongping to death.
The court heard that Zhang kidnapped eight boys between 2003 and 2005. He distracted the parents and took their toddlers, the report said.
Zhou was convicted of conspiring with Yang Zhaoping, Liu Zhenghong and Chen Shoubi, forcing entry to a rented room, tying up a woman and taking her young son in January of 2005.
Zhang told the court that he sold the boys to clients through a woman known as “Aunt Mei”.
Yang and Liu were sentenced to life, while Chen was jailed for three years for his minor role in the crime, the court said.
Aunt Mei is still at large. In June of last year, Guangzhou police authority released an artist’s impression of the woman, but efforts to find her are no farther on.
Shen Junliang is the father of Shen Cong, the year-old boy who was kidnapped from the rented room. The father quit his job as a manager at a toy factory 13 years ago to focus on finding his son. He has borrowed money from relatives to fund his search, while his wife received psychological trauma counselling after the kidnap.
Shen said he and parents of other kidnapped boys had a mixed feeling towards Zhang’s death sentence.
“We wished him dead, but also fear him dead,” Shen was quoted as saying. “It’s because once Zhang Weiping is dead, no one can identify who Aunt Mei is.”