BEIJING - A boy from Guangzhou suffering from leukemia has squandered a huge sum of money set aside for his medical treatment by his mum - 150,000 yuan (S$31,000) - on online games.
Tao Tao, 10, was diagnosed with leukemia in May last year. His parents, both farmers, have since spent over 500,000 yuan on his treatment at a Beijing hospital. They had borrowed money from relatives and appealed for help from charity groups, the Beijing Evening News reported on Monday (Jan 29).
Last Tuesday, as his mother, surnamed Lai, was settling payment for some medical treatment at the hospital, she was shocked to find that her account was left with only some 9,000 yuan when she was quite sure she should have more than 30,000 yuan.
Ms Lai immediately went to check her bank account's monthly record, and discovered that just in the month of January alone, there were at least six instances of money being withdrawn mysteriously and the amount is 8,000 yuan each time.
"Who has touched my son's money for medical treatment?" she wondered, and decided to make a police report.
After much investigation, police found out that the money had been transferred to a Wechat account of a person named "King of Glory", who turned out to be her son. King Of Glory is the name of a very popular online game in China.
Tao Tao and his mum currently stay in a rented apartment of about 10 sq m in a hutong in Beijing, as the family cannot afford to let him stay in the hospital for treatment, even though with his weak immune system, he should be not exposed to the outside environment.
Tao Tao said he has seen his mum use her Wechat account to do transactions, but he did not know that online transactions involve real money. He had learnt to transfer "amounts" from his mother's account to his own mobile phone account to top up "amounts" for his online games. And he had been doing so since last year. The "amounts" were paid to several tech companies including Tencent.
Another large portion of the "amounts" were used to pay for online subscriptions, as he had no idea what pressing the icon "confirm" on his cellphone really meant.
Fortunately, Ms Lai has been able to recover some of the money from several individuals and companies after they hear about their predicament.
As a gesture of goodwill, Tencent, the company which developed Wechat - a Chinese multi-purpose social media mobile application software - has told Ms Lai that it will return to her the 50,000 yuan which Tao Tao had transferred to it over the past few months.
"I am so grateful to them, I am deeply touched," Ms Lai told Beijing Evening News, adding that she has recovered about two-third of the estimated amount of 150,000 yuan Tao Tao had transferred to various accounts.
Ms Lai said she bears the responsibility of not educating her son well.
"It's all my fault, I hope the society will give the ignorant child another chance," she said.