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With the widespread use of computers and smartphones these days, I doubt it will be an exaggeration to say that most people have played an online game at some point, be it on their mobile gadgets or computers. Thousands of freemium games – a term coined for game models that are free-to-play but offer premium add-ons that can be purchased in-game – provide consumers with a wide range of titles to choose from. Most freemium game players choose to play for free throughout, but some are willing to shell out a few bucks for in-game items such as weapons and special power-ups to boost their game.

There’s nothing wrong with purchasing items, but if you’re selling your children to get money for your game, then things have definitely gone out of hand. A young couple in Guangdong Province, China, were recently arrested for selling their son to traffickers in exchange for some quick cash, which the dad used for his gaming expenses.

A-hui and his girlfriend A-mei, 20 and 19-years-old respectively, were recently arrested for selling their son, not once but twice, to traffickers in Fujian Province. According to news reports on Chinese website Sina, the young couple had their child out of wedlock in January this year while they were working in Shunde District of Guangdong Province. A-mei’s pregnancy was unexpected, and they weren’t in the financial condition to support a baby. Merely four days after birth, they sold their son to a trafficker for approximately 20,000 Chinese yuan (US$3,225).

▼ A-hui commented that they didn’t plan to have a child.
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When A-hui’s father (the baby’s grandfather) found out, he managed to get his grandson back in the nick of time, by paying the trafficker 30,000 Chinese yuan (US$4,836) instead. This incident probably wouldn’t have made the news if the case had ended there.

The couple moved to Dongshan City this May when A-hui got a new job at a restaurant. A-mei became a stay-home mum, and the small family depended on A-hui’s monthly salary of 3,000 Chinese yuan (US$484) to get by. On a superficial level, things seemed to have taken a turn for the good, but A-hui’s obsession with online games made it nearly impossible for them to make ends meet since he spent most of his nights at internet cafes playing games.

When interviewed, A-mei lamented that A-hui couldn’t care less about their son. Even when she told him that she would beat their son up, he told her that she could do whatever she wanted to the child, and that he wouldn’t take any responsibility if something happened to the child. All he cared about were his weapons and armors in the cyber world.

▼ A-mei told reporters that A-hui shirked responsibility over their child.
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In June, when their finances met a new low, the couple called up the same Fujian-based traffickers again and made a deal to sell their son, for the second time, for 16,000 Chinese yuan (US$2,580). A-hui’s father caught wind of the deal and, at his wit’s end, made a police report to have his own son arrested. The couple is now held in custody and the police are investigating the whereabouts of the child.

In this writer’s humble opinion, I think it’s perfectly fine if you’re buying your way up in the game with your own hard-earned money and not causing any trouble to your family. But if you’re splurging with your parents’ money, or trading your integrity and relationships in exchange for in-game items, I wouldn’t endorse the idea. Selling children for money to maintain your game, however, is something that would probably result in you getting struck by lightning, if the police didn’t catch you first.

Source/images: Sina