BEIJING: A 14-year-old boy drank gasoline for five years to obtain "energy" - just as his idols "Bumble Bee" or "Optimus Prime" do in "Transformers," the Sichuan-based West China Metropolis Daily reported on Saturday.
After the boy, in Yibin City, southwest Sichuan Province, had watched the animated TV series, he began to drink gasoline to become a "valiant fighter" like "Optimus Prime," his father told the newspaper.
"He began to drink gasoline five years ago, when we found he liked smelling lighter fuel," he said.
The boy's mother owned a grocery stall, selling small goods such as lighters.
In 2004, she often found lighters missing two or three days after she'd bought them. She later found that her son had been stealing them.
The parents talked to their son and asked him not to do it again. "But afterwards we found our motorcycle's gasoline was always disappearing, and one day when we found the boy had drunk a half bottle of gasoline stolen from the motorcycle, we were too shocked to say anything," the father said.
They locked the motorcycle away after that but the boy began to steal gasoline from neighbors and was drinking more and more - two or three bottles at a time.
"Since my son started to drink gas, his IQ has dropped sharply and now he can't figure out simple addition and subtraction," the father said.
"Before that, he was a very smart boy, and he could even repair the television. But now he does not know the answer of 7 plus 17."
The worried parents finally took their son to hospital where they were told the boy had a mental disorder and a strong "gasoline dependence."
"The gasoline contains a lot of lead, which can do harm to people's brains. To make thing even worse, the boy is in the physical development stage, and the lead has caused serious damage to his body," Peng Houquan, a doctor from a hospital in Yibin, said.
"Transformers" is now a Hollywood blockbuster movie franchise and the second live-action film is currently breaking box office records in China.
"Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" has gained 400 million yuan (US$58.4 million) in the country, breaking the record set by "Titanic" 10 years ago.