A former Chinese soldier who lent his six children out to criminal gangs and regularly beat them has had them taken away by the authorities.
The court in Shangcheng county, a remote rural region of Henan province, ruled that Liu Mingju was not fit to raise the children, who are left solely in his care because his wife, Li Shaoju, is mentally disabled.
The farmer spent just 10 days in detention but the four boys and two girls, aged between one and 15, are now under the custody of the county’s civil affairs authority, Beijing Youth Daily reported.
In a televised interview broadcast on pearvideo.com Liu admitted his failings, but said he sometimes tied his younger sons to their beds for their own good.
“I do odd jobs on construction sites, dig wells and ditches. There are iron shovels and other tools scattered around the home,” he said.
He also said that he and his wife had had two other children. He claimed that one, a girl, had been kidnapped and was still missing and the other, a boy, had died when the mother poured boiling water on him in a fit of insanity.
No evidence was provided to support his claims.
He also said he had wanted more children to help in the search for the missing girl.
Following the court’s decision, the eldest child was directed to live with her grandparents while the other five will be placed in the local orphanage.
In August Liu’s neighbours called the police after they found Liu’s fourth child, a four-year-old boy, bound to the bed in their sweltering bungalow.
The boy complained that his father would often tie him and his siblings to the bed.
“Sometimes he hangs us up to beat us mercilessly,” he told pearvideo.com.
The village authority filed a lawsuit against Liu, who spent three years in the army, for abuse. Police detained him, but he was released after 10 days to allow him to care for his wife.
Liu also admitted that he had been leasing his younger children to gangs of shoplifters for fees of between 400 yuan and 5,000 yuan (US$720) a year.
They would take the babies when they were just a month or so old and typically kept them until they were five or six.
He said the gangs wanted to rent the children because security guards tend to pay less attention to shoppers with children.
His neighbours said Liu never cooked for his children, feeding them instant noodles, instead.
The fourth child told pearvideo.com that he and his siblings often lived on the streets and slept inside paper boxes.
Since last year, the local government has been giving the family a monthly living allowance of 252 yuan per child.
Liu said he was happy that the children were being sent to an orphanage, but hoped the government would continue to provide the allowance.