CHINA> National
Police detain two suspects in mass abductions of teens
Updated: 2009-01-22 10:43

BEIJING - Police in north China's Shanxi Province told Xinhua that they have captured two suspects linked to a series of abductions of adolescents.

Police in Yuncheng City said Wednesday night that nine suspects were believed to be involved in the kidnapping and transport of teenagers to Myanmar. They said at least 50 youngsters went missing after they were apparently seized for ransom.

The Beijing News said Thursday one of those detained was a male teenager surnamed Zhang, a native of Shanxi. The paper said an initial investigation showed he had transported a number of local youngsters to Myanmar, ostensibly to find jobs.

The actual number of kidnapped children could be much higher than 50, the newspaper said, quoting local police.

The newspaper did not carry further information about the kidnappers, except that they are apparently part of a cross-border gang.

Rumors about teens going missing from Yuncheng began circulating late last year, after a man received a phone call from his son in Myanmar saying he had been arrested for drug dealing and would be executed if his father did not pay a ransom of 80,000 yuan (US$11,700).

In subsequent days, parents of other missing children received similar calls from Myitkyina.

Another kidnapped boy was released in December after his father wired 80,000 yuan to the kidnappers' bank account as demanded.

A press official with Myanmar's embassy in Beijing said his country would investigate into the incidents and would welcome joint operations with Chinese police, the Beijing News reported.