A custody battle in Wuhan turned ugly on Sunday, August 11, after a child was snatched from a stroller right in front of their mother. The horrifying incident occured in, of all places, an elevator.
Surveillance footage captured inside the elevator shows a woman in a blue shirt taking the baby out of the stroller while the mother is still holding the child’s hand. The next moment, the mother latches on to her baby as the woman and a man in a white shirt, who is said to be the father of the child, fight for possession of the kid. Another woman and a girl – also in the elevator – appear to be assisting the mother as she fights for control. The scuffle goes on for over a minute, with the video ending after both parties end up outside the elevator. The final seconds of the footage show the elevator doors closing with the stroller still inside. According to Beijing News, the father and woman in the blue shirt ultimately got away with the baby.
Watch below to see the disturbing incident play out (VPN off):
Wuhan’s Shenlong police station currently has one of the two individuals responsible for taking the baby in custody.
In a phone interview with Beijing News, the Wuhan Development Zone Public Security Bureau sub-branch stated, “This is a family matter, not a case. This is not a case, it’s not one of those kidnapping cases you see online.” The police also confirmed that the child is safe.
Although it’s not a “case,” Beijing News reports that an investigation is underway. The police’s stance on the matter, calling it a family dispute and refuting the notion that the child was taken, is common in China.
With divorce rates in the PRC more than tripling between 2002 and 2015 (exceeding estimates for the European Union and falling just short of the rate in the US), child custody is an issue on the rise. According to Chinese Marriage Law Article 29, the relationship between parents and children shall not come to an end in the case of the parents divorce. Regardless of whether the child is put in the custody of the mother or father, they shall remain the children of both parents. In 2016, Reuters reported that judges have a tendency to favor the parent who has physical possession of the child, which may explain the motive behind this recent incident in Wuhan.
[Cover image: screengrab via QQ]