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Posted Sun Jan 6, 2008 5:00pm AEDT|
Chinese police have arrested four teenage boys for kidnapping their classmate for ransom and killing the victim, amid worsening crime in the booming southern province of Guangdong.
The suspects, aged 15 to 17, kidnapped their classmate, Zhao Shaoxu, in Shantou city in Guangdong on December 29, the online edition of Xinhua news agency said, quoting the Guangzhou Daily.
They murdered the 15-year-old victim within hours but phoned his father repeatedly to demand 500,000 yuan ($76,400) in ransom.
The father, a private entrepreneur, recognised the voice of one of the callers and reported it to police. The kidnappers were rounded up the next day and have confessed.
Footage from a street video surveillance camera showed the kidnappers chasing and beating up the victim, the newspaper said.
Police found the boy's body in an abandoned house in a nearby village, stabbed in the back with scissors and with a fractured skull, strangulation marks on his neck and punctures to his throat.
China's crime rate tumbled in the years after the Communists swept to power in 1949, but has risen sharply since the country embraced economic reforms in the late 1970s which some argue left a spiritual vacuum and spawned greed.
Ji Hanping of the Shantou Youth Psychology Centre blamed rising juvenile crime on "unhealthy culture", including violent movies and television.
"The youth worship violence ... Juvenile delinquency has become a problem that cannot be ignored," Mr Ji said.