Against All Odds: The Gambling-Addicted Pensioner Who Kidnapped His Granddaughter

  • A Chinese pensioner kidnapped his granddaughter for gambling funds
  • He demanded money from his daughter to return the four-year-old girl
  • The 65-year-old man was charged and sent to prison in Shanghai
Dropped teddy bear
A 65-year-old Chinese pensioner was charged with kidnapping his four-year-old granddaughter get cash so he could gamble. [Image:]

Ransom demand

The gambling world is full of mysterious, terrifying, and wonderful stories, from bizarre bad beats to hair-raising heists, murders, and even ghosts. But when it comes to gambling crimes, the tale of a Chinese pensioner – who kidnapped his granddaughter and demanded more than $70,000 as ransom – is hard to beat.

Not much is known about the 65-year-old Shanghai man, other than his surname being Yuan and that he had a problem with gambling. According to reports, Yuan had developed stomach cancer, was divorced from his wife, and had been neglecting his business due to gambling.

Yuan took desperate measures to continue fueling his gambling addiction

After racking up substantial gambling debts, Yuan took desperate measures to continue fueling his gambling addiction needs earlier this year.

A plan in action

It all started when Yuan picked up his granddaughter from kindergarten and took her out for something to eat without her mother‘s knowledge. When the little girl‘s mother arrived at school to pick her up, she realized she was missing. It was then that she received a text message from her father demanding $72,500.

In his message, Yuan said to his daughter: “Take out 500,000 yuan ($72,500) in three days, or you‘ll never see your precious daughter again.”

Desperate to get her daughter back, the mother rang Yuan up to persuade him to stop what he was doing. However, she failed to sway him and Yuan even threatened to kill his daughter if she didn‘t pay up.

Yuan was arrested the same day he kidnapped his granddaughter after his daughter reported him. Charged with extortion, Yuan was sent to Xinshou Prison, a facility in Shanghai.

Granddad in prison

Pleading not guilty to the charges, Yuan told the court that the kidnapping should be considered a family matter rather than a crime. In some instances, Chinese courts can designate crimes within families as family affairs. This also includes domestic violence.

Yuan went on a hunger strike and had difficulty with other prisoners

In this case, the court decided to sentence him; however, it‘s not known how long his sentence is. While serving his prison sentence, Yuan went on a hunger strike and had difficulty with other prisoners. He also made allegations that his daughter wanted him to die and accused his daughter of being ungrateful.

“I‘m 65 years old, and my daughter still comes after me,” he said. “She doesn‘t want me to improve, she just wants me to die!” he said.

It was only after his ex-wife and daughter contacted him in prison that Yuan stopped resisting efforts and ended his hunger strike.

Public opinion

Following the news of Yuan‘s drastic measures to continue gambling, many took to social media to express their horror.

One person wrote on Weibo, China‘s version of X: “I‘d cut off contact with him. No idea what he‘d do after he gets out of prison.”

Why Yuan thought this was a good idea is not known, but it‘s unlikely he‘ll be invited to family social gatherings any time soon.

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