A couple of months ago I left downtown Shanghai and I now live in the suburbs of the city. To be precise, close to the old Hongqiao village in Minhang district. I always thought nothing happens in the suburbs, but now that I am paying a bit more attention to what’s going on in Minhang I take that back. Just today’s paper already had two articles with scary things going on in my current district.
First, a 5-month old baby was kidnapped from its own house while the mother was home. Baby kidnapping is not uncommon in China, at least this is what I hear from Chinese friends. I always thought this mainly happens in the countryside where baby boys are taken from their parents and sold to farmers who need a son. I did not realize this is also something that happens in Shanghai. In this case two women were in need of cash and decided to look for a mother with a baby. They spotted one and found out she was home alone with the kid. After ringing the bell pretending to be a new neighbor they overpowered the mother, took the baby from its bed and sped off in a car. Luckily for the mother they had not found a buyer yet, and that turned out to be a bit more difficult than they originally thought. Because of that the police caught up with them, and seven days after the baby was stolen he was returned to his parents. A terrible story, especially because I have a baby boy myself and because it happens so close to where I live.
The other story is scary in a different way. A school boy is playing at a pond in Minhang district looking to catch a turtle. But to his big surprise he sees a crocodile swimming in the pond. He runs back to school and informs the head master, who at first does not believe it. They call the police, who also do not believe the story at first but decided to come anyway. And indeed there is a one-meter long crocodile slowly moving through the pond. The police calls the Shanghai Zoo, whose staff catches the animal and they send it off to the Shanghai Zoo (also close to our home). The article ends by saying that nobody knows how the crocodile ended up there, as there are no crocodile farms or restaurant in the neigborhood. I hope so… If I find I am living close to a crocodile farm I might consider moving again!