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Police recover 1,680 missing children

Police officers patrol in the Taoyuannan community in Qingxiu district of Nannning, south China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, Dec 31, 2020. (LIU LINGYI / XINHUA)

Police recovered 1,680 missing children in the first five months of the year after a special operation was launched in January to track and find missing and abducted children, the Ministry of Public Security said on Tuesday.

Tong Bishan, deputy director of the ministry's criminal investigation bureau, said at a news briefing that some of those who were found are now adults. The oldest case took 54 years to solve.

Police across the country cracked 85 long-pending cases in the five months to the end of May, arrested 223 people suspected of abduction and trafficking, and organized more than 400 family reunions, he said.

The operation was launched in January to solve the backlog of child abduction and trafficking cases, arrest suspects and search for missing children, building on a system known as "Reunion" that was first used in May 2016. Tong said that in the course of the ongoing operation, the ministry has directly supervised major cases, deployed a number of experts in crime-fighting technology and artificial intelligence, pooled all relevant resources and made use of the national DNA system.

"As long as one single child abduction case remains unsolved and one missing child is not recovered, the public security authorities will not give up," he said.

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Police have comprehensively run through child abduction cases over the years, screened files clue by clue and supplemented relevant information in the DNA database in a timely manner. In cases where the DNA information of parents was incomplete, they tried every means to fill in the gaps and reach the parents for blood tests.

With the help of DNA technologies, police in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region recently recovered a son and a daughter lost 44 years ago and returned them to their 90-year-old father after extracting DNA from the remains of their deceased mother.

Police in Liaoning province recently cracked down on a criminal gang led by a 62-year-old man surnamed Hui, arresting three suspects and recovering 10 children.

Between March 1993 and September 1994, four cases were reported to Liaoning police in which individual children aged 4 to 7 years old disappeared on their way home from school. Police set up a special investigation team and landed on Hui as the major suspect, however the hunt was unsuccessful for years, said Cui Lidong from the Liaoning Provincial Public Security Bureau.

READ MORE: Father rescues son after 10-year search

In this year's operation, the ministry placed the case under its direct supervision and the Liaoning public security bureau reorganized an elite force and used advanced technologies to analyze Hui's whereabouts, before finally busting Hui's hiding place in Tianjin.

The investigation found that Hui and two other suspects abducted seven boys from the provinces of Liaoning, Shandong and Sichuan and sold them in Fujian province. In the course of the investigation, the police recovered all seven children, as well as three other missing children involved in other cases, Cui said.

zhangyangfei@chinadaily.com.cn