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$37,000 gone in 3 months: Teen in China wipes out family's savings on online game

$37,000 gone in 3 months: Teen in China wipes out family's savings on online game
Cheng's son kneels to apologise after spending his family's savings on online gambling.
PHOTO: Shin Min Daily News

After his gambling-addicted teenage son spent the family's entire savings on an online game, a desperate father in China turned to a Henan TV programme that specialises in helping those in need, Chinese publication The Paper reported on March 15.

The man, surnamed Cheng, said on the show, Xiaoli to the Rescue, that his 15-year-old son, who had access to his bank account, depleted all the money - 200,000 yuan (S$37,345) in total - from it. 

Of the sum, 30,000 yuan is Cheng's savings while the rest of the money came from his daughter's bride price.

Cheng, a widower, said that his son had spent 150,000 yuan on a gambling game on video-sharing platform Kuaishou, and the rest on food and entertainment.

The game involves a lottery ball and requires a payment of 100 yuan per try, promising 20,000 yuan for those who win, South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported on Saturday (March 22).

Cheng's son, who also appeared on the show, said that the more he played, the more he got hooked.

He ended up pumping 150,000 yuan into the game and losing it all.

Cheng, who broke his legs in a work accident last year, was devastated. Due to his injuries, he couldn't work to earn the money back.

His daughter had given the money received for her bride price to him, and he had intended to leave it to his son for him to marry and buy a home. 

May get money back

But all is not lost.

The show's reporter spoke with Kuaishou's customer service and was told that it might be possible to return the money to Cheng, according to SCMP. 

The app said it wasn't able to limit the amount Cheng's son spent because it could not tell if the user was an adult or a minor.

Kuaishou also has a "teenager mode" that limits daily usage to 40 minutes, but the function can be switched off by the user.

On the show, Cheng's son got on his knees and begged for forgiveness from his father.

To which Cheng replied: "It's no good if you don't rectify your behaviour in the future, you must change yourself for the better." 

ALSO READ: China warns citizens in Singapore to stay away from gambling

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