Lao Authorities Issue Child Safety Alert Amid Reports of Chinese Kidnapping Attempts

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Representational image: Primary school children at Phonsavath Primary School. (Photo: Aide et Action)

Concerns are mounting in Laos over child safety following reports of Chinese individuals attempting kidnappings, prompting local authorities to issue warnings and urging vigilance among teachers and parents.

The Office of Education and Sports in Houayxay district, Bokeo Province, issued a notice on 20 February to preschools, primary schools, and secondary schools, advising both the government and private sectors to protect schoolchildren. This action comes in response to an incident involving individuals from China attempting to deceive and abduct children, particularly in the area of the A3 road, Pakhaonuea village, Huayxay district in Bokeo.

According to the notice, the incident occurred on 13 February, at approximately 7:20 am, when a group of Chinese individuals involved in trafficking tried to deceive and abduct schoolchildren from Pakhanuea Primary School. The notice emphasizes collaboration among sectors to ensure student safety, urging heightened caution and advising children not to interact with unknown individuals.

“Currently, there is a group of Chinese individuals attempting to trick and kidnap school kids from Pakhanuea Primary School,” the notice stated. “To address the issue, all sectors, especially schools from both the government and private sectors, are urged to collaborate and exercise caution to ensure the safety of students.”

School teachers and officials are also urged to advise students not to “contact any unknown individuals,” emphasizing the importance of heightened awareness and protective measures within the school areas.

The incident has raised concerns among social media users nationwide, particularly due to the involvement of Chinese individuals in trafficking and the growing presence of Chinese nationals in Laos.

“The Lao government should not permit these Chinese individuals to enter Laos and should take strong action against them,” one Facebook comment reads.

On the other hand, many users urged the authorities to promptly address the issue and arrest the individuals involved to be punished according to the law. 

“Urgent action is needed beyond just notifying schools. Police and authorities should monitor Chinese individuals, set up checkpoints, and thoroughly search vehicles to arrest those suspected of wrongdoing,” another user commented, alleging that the recent incident may be involved in bigger organ trafficking ring across the region.