Footage of a boy who was tied up to a motorbike after he was caught stealing a small bag of cookies in Xaysomboun province went viral on Monday, causing a stir among social media users.
The distressing video shows the nine-year-old boy in a student uniform holding a small bag of cookies he had attempted to steal, tied up to a motorbike. He is surrounded by a group of adults, including the shop owner, nearby residents, and teachers.
Despite the incident being captured on film, none of the adults are seen attempting to untie the boy.
The video quickly went viral after it was uploaded to the internet, sparking outrage from social media users, who were alarmed by the abject child abuse.
“Using violence against children in any form is a barbaric act, it shows a backward society,” one social media user commented.
“All forms of violence against children must be condemned,” he continued.
“Both the shop owner and the photographer should be ashamed. There are about ten people in the video but none of them attempted to help the poor child. Why must you be so cruel to a child who only wants a LAK 3,000 bag of cookies?” another social media user wrote.
Following the overwhelming public backlash, the husband of the shop owner who tied up the boy made an apologetic video on behalf of his wife, pleading for forgiveness.
In the video, the man says, “I feel guilty because as the head of the family, I failed to educate my wife and let this unpleasant situation occur.”
“This, I promise, is the last time anything like this will ever happen. So, I’d like to apologize to everyone involved—the community, the child’s parents, and the government—and I ask for forgiveness.”
Physical abuse of women or children is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to LAK 15 million under Laos’ penal code.