A report in Beijing News Wednesday detailed the bizarre rescue
of two girls, who had been held captive
in a cellar
for months in Hubei province.
An electronics repairman in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei, on May 14 found a note inside a TV set which said: 'Help, I have been detained underground
for more than one year.' The note gave an address in the village of Shengying, where police found the two naked and chained girls in the basement
. One of them had been missing
for nearly a year.
The owner of the basement
, it turned out, had a week earlier been detained on charges of rape in a separate case, Beijing News reported.
A Shengying man identified in the article only as Zhou, whose 19-year-old daughter disappeared in July last year, said a man by the name of Du called him to ask, 'Has your daughter disappeared?'
Three hours later, Zhou and the police found his lost daughter in the basement
, less than 200 meters from his home, the article said. The police also found another girl, age 16, in the basement
. Few details were known about the younger girl, except that she lived several kilometers away from Shengying.
It appears the older girl had put the note in the TV before it was taken away for repairs.
Du told reporters that a friend of his who works for a home-appliance store found the note in a TV set he was repairing. It was folded many times and contained a handwritten map with the location
of the cellar
marked. It also gave the name, telephone number and home address of Zhou's daughter.
Du said his friend thought the note was a joke and wanted to throw it away. However, Du thought it might be true and asked his friend for the note. Du's son suggested he call the phone number on the note.
According to a follow-up article in the Beijing News Thursday, Du's son had on one occasion been bullied on his way home from school and was angry that no one helped him. Therefore he was eager for his father to help the girls.
The note led Zhou and the police to the home of Zeng Xiangbao, who had already been detained in a separate rape case. Zhou and the police searched Zeng's two-storey building and eventually
found the entrance of the basement
and the two girls in chains.
The report said the girls had subsisted on instant
noodles supplied by Zeng, but were badly malnourished. They were also very dirty and their hair smelled even after four washings, the report said. The report said the girls had previously
attempted to smuggle
notes in instant
-noodle packages but those hadn't drawn any responses.
Zeng, 39, divorced last year, the report said. Police declined to disclose
A Wuhan Public Security Bureau official, who identified himself as Mr. Liu confirmed the case and said: 'We are still investigating the case and it is not closed yet.' He declined to provide more details.
The Thursday Beijing News article quoted a Wuhan PSB official as saying
that the two girls are under police protection
, 'The girls are unmarried
and the case involves privacy
, which makes us very cautious.'
The case has drawn expressions of outrage
online. One commenter said: 'Why are human beings so disturbed? Harming others for their own selfish
Another said, 'The most terrible thing is that those earlier notes were ignored.'