A Shanghai man identified simply as Yuan has been sentenced to prison for kidnapping his granddaughter so he could get money to keep up with his gambling addiction.
The 65-year-old man planned the kidnapping of the four-year-old child from her school when she was dropped at kindergarten by her mom.
Shanghai Law and Rule Journal reports that Yuan picked up the girl from her kindergarten , took her out to eat and shop without her mother’s knowledge.
The girl’s mother then arrived at the school and realized her little daughter was missing. She received a message from Yuan demanding 500,000 Yuan ($72,000).
“Take out 500,000 yuan in three days, or you’ll never see your precious daughter again!” the woman quoted her father while talking to the Journal.
She called Yuan’s phone and tried to persuade him to give up on the plot but she was unsiccssful in her attempt as he insisted on getting the money before releasing the little girl.
However, she reported the matter to Shanghai police and her granddad, Yuan was arrested that evening. He was charged with extortion and sent to the Xinshou Prison.
He, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The convict was said to have also protested the charges in court, saying the kidnapping should be considered a family dispute and not a crime.
According to Chinese law, courts can designate some crimes within families — including domestic violence — as family affairs.
His wife had divorced him, and he began neglecting his business because of his gambling habits.
Local media reports that Yuan was deep into gambling debt and he desperately needed the ransom money because he was also diagnosed with stomach cancer.