In 1997, when he was just 2 years old, Guo Gangtang’s son was kidnapped by traffickers. The child was just outside his home when he was abducted by the criminals. The boy’s father never stopped looking for his child, and more than two decades later an emotional reunion between Guo and his son took place that touched the whole world.
In the 24 years since his son went missing, Guo Gangtang has travelled no less than 500,000 kilometers on a motorbike in search of his son. More than that, he has also launched awareness campaigns and became a member of organizations working to find missing persons in China. As a result of his relentless activity, Guo has helped reunite at least seven parents with their children so far.
In the search for his son, Guo spent all his life savings. There were even times when he had to sleep under bridges or even beg for money to be able to continue searching for his child. According to the Chinese authorities, police were able to identify the kidnappers and find his son based upon DNA tests.
The touching moment of Guo meeting his son again
After 24 years, Guo and his wife cried when they could embrace their son again. Visibly distressed after years of searching, the parents were overwhelmed by emotion.
“My baby, you’re back!” exclaimed the child’s mother when she saw him.
“Now that the child has been found, everything will be fine from now on. I’m very happy,” Guo told reporters.
After his son was abducted in 1997, Guo traveled to more than 20 provinces in China on a motorcycle in search of his child. During this time, he broke several bones in traffic accidents and even encountered highway robbers. No less than ten motorcycles ended up damaged in his travels.
How the kidnappers acted
According to China’s Ministry of Public Security, police managed to track down the two suspects, who were subsequently tracked down and arrested, a Global Times report said. They were reportedly meeting at the time to kidnap a child with the intention of selling him for money.
After seeing Guo Gangtang’s child playing alone outside his home, the female suspect, identified only as Tang, picked up the little boy and took him to the bus station, where her partner, named Hu, was waiting for her. The two then took an intercity bus to neighboring Henan province and sold the child there. According to local media reports also taken over by BBC, Guo’s son was found still living in that province.
Child abduction and trafficking has been a severe problem for decades in China. In 2015, it was estimated that as many as 20,000 children were abducted each year. Many of them are reportedly sold for adoption, both domestically and abroad, according to the source.