Boy, 14, forced by parents to jump from tricycle cabs to scam drivers

Boy, 14, forced by parents to jump from tricycle cabs to scam drivers
PHOTO: Video screengrab

For the past year, the parents of a 14-year-old boy in Zhejiang, China, had been forcing him to jump out of tricycle taxis to scam drivers for compensation money.

Although he was afraid to fall out of the moving vehicles, the teenager did not dare defy their wishes, he said.

In a video interview, the boy revealed his family's modus operandi for these scams.

His parents made him take days off school and instructed him on how to scam drivers.

He said that the adults gave him the signal to jump out of the tricycle as they were about to reach their destination, or if they encountred a bump in the road.

After jumping, he had to pretend that he was in great pain so they could ask the drivers for compensation.

However, the boy has suffered genuine injuries from the staged accidents - from abrasions all over his body to a fractured skull on one occasion. He said he still has headaches sometimes.

And even though he knew what he was doing was wrong, the teenager feared his parents' beatings if he didn't comply with their demands.

Chengdu Evening News reported that the boy's father had been out of a job for the past two years. His mother, a factory worker, earned about 3,000 yuan (S$600) a month.

The couple claimed that they did not have money to send their children to school.

According to local police, there were over 10 scam cases reported between Sept 2016 and Oct 2017, involving about 20,000 yuan (S$4,100).

The boy's plight only came to light in October after a Zhejiang policeman wrote about his case on social media.

His parents have since been detained for suspected fraud. The teenager and his younger sister are now under their schools' care as investigations are ongoing.

minlee@sph.com.sg

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