Man kidnapped 23 years ago finds kin thanks to Google Maps

Beijing, May 18 (IANS/EFE) A 28-year-old Chinese man who was kidnapped 23 years ago and sold to a family 1,500 km from his home, has met up with his biological parents again thanks to Google Maps, Hunan TV said Friday.

Hazy childhood memories plus the popular search engine Google allowed Luo Gang to find his family in the central province of Sichuan after living most of his life with adoptive parents in the southeastern region of Fujian.

Luo, who for years searched for his real family, recalled that his hometown had two bridges, and with that detail and a few others drew a rough map of the place he lived when he was little, which he then posted on a Chinese web site dedicated to reuniting families.

Other users of the site suggested to Luo several villages in China which might possibly be the place where he was kidnapped, so the young man devoted himself to looking for them on Google Maps.

Finally, when Luo came upon one called Yaojiaba, his memories blossomed, he had no doubt that this was it, the hometown of his childhood, and traveled there for an emotional reunion with his parents and grandparents that was broadcast on Hunan TV.

“Every time I thought about my son I couldn’t stop crying, imagining that he was going hungry or didn’t have enough clothes to wear,” Luo’s mother told reporters after meeting with the young man.

Every year, thousands of children are kidnapped in China by mafias that sell them to couples who are either barren or just want to make sure of having a boy. There are also cases of criminal gangs who sell minors to factories as slaves.



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