The alertness and quick thinking of an ayi saved a child from being abducted at Chongwenmen, beijingkids has learned.
The boy’s father, a prominent member of Beijing’s international community, shared his story in the hope of warning others. (Names are withheld for reasons of safety.)
“Where we live there’s a communal area outside the shopping mall and all the kids play there in the evening,” he told us. His son was approached by a young man who had bought a cheap toy and engaged him in conversation.
“The ayi saw this and didn’t take that much notice, because my son is quite a sociable guy. Then she noticed there was about half a dozen people moving around and getting closer: six young guys, and a middle-aged guy and middle-aged woman. Once they realized they’d got a connection, this guy was on WeChat, and we assume that it was to connect up with a car.”
The ayi realized what was happening and quickly brought the child inside.
“We’re going through the police and the mall security because that area has cameras,” the father said. He suggested parents should be particularly careful.
“It’s just a bit of a heads up for people,” he said. “It’’s a random thing generally, but when you’ve got organized gangs that’s a different matter.”
And of course the ayi has been rewarded for her vigilance.
“Yes, she just had a hongbao!” the dad said.
Child abductions are tragically common in China, usually of young children who are then raised as their own by the abductor or the person who hired them. It is an extreme response to childlessness in a society where children are seen as a safety net in old age. However this is the first report of an attempt at kidnapping targeted at the international community that beijingkids is aware of since 2011, when there was concern about predatory attacks on teenage girls. We continue to caution against circulating reports of kidnapped children on WeChat when the source cannot be verified.
(This article originally stated that the incident took place at Chaoyangmen, and has been corrected. Apologies for any confusion.)