Chinese woman, 24, who was presumed dead found to have been living in Internet cafes for 10 years

Children playing computer games in an Internet cafe.
Children playing computer games in an Internet cafe.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

She left her home in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang - while still in her teens - a decade ago following a quarrel with her parents.

Presumed dead by her family, the woman - nicknamed Xiao Yun and now 24 - was finally found by police officers last Friday (Nov 20) after conducting a routine check at an Internet cafe in the wee hours of the morning.

Xiao Yun, who had been carrying a fake identity card, was taken to a local police station for questioning. There, she revealed that she had been living in Internet cafes for the past decade.

A fan of the multiplayer first-person shooter CrossFire, she spent her days playing the game and slept mostly in cafes and bath houses.

She relied mostly on handouts from fellow cafe patrons and occasionally worked as a cashier at some cafes to earn additional income.

She told the police that she had been brought up by her grandparents.

 

The police fined her 1,000 yuan (S$222) and after initial resistance from her, contacted her parents so they could be reunited with their long-lost daughter.

Her mother told the Qianjiang Evening News that she had not changed her phone number since her elder daughter left home, in the hope that Xiao Yun would contact her.

"I have a stubborn personality and a short temper, so I used to scold her. But it's already been 10 years and now she's an adult. I will never scold her again," she said.

In a similar case in 2013, a man said to be a video game addict was found to have spent the previous six years holed up in an Internet cafe near the city of Changchun.

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