A man from China with a gambling addiction chose a path to recovery that even the most hardened criminals would find abhorrent. He abducted his granddaughter and tried to get his daughter to pay a ransom in order to settle the debt.
The Oriental Daily media outlet covered the incident, explaining that a man by the last name of Yuan took his four-year-old grandchild when she finished school one day. He then demanded a ransom of CNY500,000 (US$72,250) from his daughter.
The sexagenarian told his daughter that she had three days to come up with the money. If she didn’t, he warned her that she would never see her daughter again. Fortunately for the child and mother, he was as bad at staging crimes as he was gambling.
Quick End To Scary Ordeal
After retiring from business, Yuan became more active in gambling. It reached a point where he had to start borrowing from his family to cover his activity. Eventually, his daughter cut him off, leading him to kidnap a member of his own family.
The grandfather didn’t try to hide his identity, and his daughter contacted the authorities for help. They arrested him and put him in prison for extortion, although he doesn’t believe he did anything wrong.
Even behind bars, Yuan refused to take responsibility for his actions. Instead, he repeatedly attempted to shift the blame onto his own daughter, falsely accusing her of feeling ungrateful for everything he had done for her.
Yuan doesn’t believe the matter is criminal; he asserts it’s nothing more than a family squabble. The courts, however, didn’t see it that way and locked him up.
While in prison, Yuan hasn’t been a model inmate. He has held hunger strikes to protest his arrest and, even at 63 years old, has started verbal fights with other criminals. He finally calmed down after his ex-wife intervened and talked some sense into him. Since then, Yuan has taken steps to amend his behavior and cooperate with the authorities.
Gambling is illegal in China, except for certain lotteries, but this doesn’t mean the activity isn’t common. There are underground gambling operations across the country, providing black-market lotteries, mahjong, baccarat, bingo, card games and more.
Going To Extremes
Usually, cases involving kidnapping and gambling are related to organized crime groups grabbing people for not paying their debts. Some people will do anything to satiate their appetite for gambling, although kidnapping a four-year-old is a new low.
There have been regular reports out of Southeast Asia, in places like the Philippines, Macau and Cambodia, of gangs holding gamblers hostage for money. Often, the victim is released once family members pay the debt.
Robert Brandel kidnapped someone four years ago to try to avoid paying a $50,000 debt. That someone was himself, and it took New York police all of about 30 minutes to figure out what actually happened.
There are also cases of people faking their own kidnapping to pick up cash so they can gamble. As the evidence shows, however, rarely do the plans succeed.
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