Gambling Debt Leads Chinese Man to Kidnap Own Granddaughter for Ransom

Posted on: April 25, 2023, 07:42h. 

Last updated on: April 25, 2023, 05:19h.

A man from China with a gambling addiction recently abducted his granddaughter and tried to get his daughter to pay a ransom to settle the debt. Fortunately for the child and mother, he was as bad at staging crimes as he was gambling.

The Chinese flag flies outside the country's central bank
The Chinese flag flies outside the country’s central bank. A Chinese grandfather kidnapped his granddaughter to force his daughter to give him gambling money. (Image: AdobeStock)

The man, identified only by the last name of Yuan, kidnapped his four-year-old grandchild after school. He then demanded a ransom of CNY500,000 (US$72,250) from his daughter, according to The Oriental Daily.

He told his daughter she had three days to get the money. If she didn’t, he warned her. She would never see her daughter again.  However, Yuan didn’t try to hide his identity from his daughter, and she immediately contacted the authorities for help. They arrested and imprisoned him for extortion.

After retiring from business, Yuan became more active in gambling, reaching a point where he had to borrow from his family to cover his activity. Eventually, his daughter cut him off.

Gambling is illegal in China, except for certain lotteries, but this doesn’t mean the activity isn’t common. There are underground gambling operations nationwide providing black-market lotteries, mahjong, baccarat, bingo, card games, and more.

Not a Model Prisoner

Yuan continues to deny responsibility for his actions behind bars. Yuan asserts it’s nothing more than a family dispute, repeatedly attempting to shift the blame onto his own daughter, falsely accusing her of feeling ungrateful for everything he had done for her.

Yuan hasn’t been a model inmate while imprisoned, either. He has held hunger strikes to protest his arrest, and even at 63 years old, he 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 acted to amend his behavior and cooperate with the authorities.

Going to Extremes

Usually, cases involving kidnapping and gambling are related to organized crime groups grabbing people for not paying their debts. 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 avoid paying a $50K debt. That someone was himself, and it took New York police all of about 30 minutes to figure out what 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.