I don’t know exactly when I had it drilled into me but at somepoint in my childhood the concept that “stealing is bad” was passed down from my parents.
As with any childhood, temptation came and went but for the most part I managed to avoid the whole stealing phase lots of kids go through. I think the worst thing I ever did was nick a funsize Snickers bar from Coles when I was thirteen or so.
Deeply regretted doing it afterwards (me and my friend only had money for one and didn’t want to share) but by then it was of course too late.
Chalking it up to lesson learnt, it would seem the whole stealing message had sunk in.
Where I might fall somewhere inbetween the childhood stealing spectrum (we can’t all be angelic saints), falling on the spectacular fail side of things would be the parents of a 12 year old Taichung boy.
So the story goes, a mother and father by the surname of Jien (簡) claim that their twelve year old son had been stealing from them for two years. With money regularly disappearing from the Jiens home and workplace (they worked together), the Jiens claim their son had stolen roughly $200,000 TWD ($6770 USD) from them.
Rather than deal with his behaviour and try to correct it, Mr. Jien instead appealed to his son’s school to offer counselling.
When this didn’t work (or work as fast as the Jiens hoped it would, Mr. and Mrs. Jien started to harass their son until he finally gave in and confessed to the theft.
Jien Junior (photo right) disputed the stolen amount only pegging it at around $100,000 and claimed to have kept detailed records on what he’d spent the stolen money on.
What was Jien Junior claim he spent the money on?
Toys and food.
At this point it’s easy to look at this as a case of possible neglect, but to be fair to parents Jien Junior was already regularly stealing so I’m tempted to take his claims with a bit of salt.
Continuing to harass their son, earlier this month they managed to wrangle out of him that he’d stashed some recently stolen money at school in his desk.
Wanting it back, Mr. Jien rocked up the school but failed to find any money. Fed up with his son’s behaviour Mr. Jien then threatened to call the police but was talked out of it by teachers and the Director of the school.
The school staff pleaded with Mr. Jien to give his son a chance, as his school marks were above average and he was apparently quite enthusiastic in his classes. As a compromise the teachers claimed they’d have a talk to Jien after his winter exams about his problem.
At least that was the plan.
On the eve of Friday the 18th of January tempers once again erupted in the Jien household over their sons continued theft, with Mr. and Mrs. Jien demanding to know where all the money was that their son had stolen.
Jien Junior stuck to his toys and food story and that’s when the stick came out. After initially whipping their son and not getting an emotional reaction, Mr. and Mrs. Jien then stepped up their efforts.
From around 8pm to 10pm, all hell broke loose and Jien Junior copped a brutal hiding at the hands of his parents.
Leaving their son on his bedroom floor, the Jiens went off and did something for two hours before returning to go to sleep at around 12am.
Checking in on their son, they found him asleep on the floor where they’d left him. Telling him to go to sleep in his bed, the Jiens then turned in for the night.
Waking up and getting ready for work, at around 5am Mr. Jien found his son collapsed in the bathroom. Noticing that his body was cold to the touch save for some faint warmth in his chest area, Mr. Jien
immediately called for an ambulance carried his son back to his bedroom and turned on the heater.
Mr. and Mrs. Jien then left for work.
Returning home at around 5pm, the Jiens found their son unresponsive in his bed. It’s not apparent what happened over the subsequent two hour period following the discovery of their dead son, but Jien Junior wasn’t taken to a hospital until 7pm.
Unable to do anything for him, doctors pronounced Jien Junior dead on arrival. Unable to ignore the 40-50 wounds apparent on Jien Junior’s battered and bruised body, the doctors suspected child abuse and notified police.
Mr. and Mrs. Jien were later arrested at the hospital.
Following their arrest, the Jiens are now facing manslaughter charges which normally carry a maximum penalty of 7 years. Because Jien Junior is underage however, this penalty is increased by 50% for a total of 10 and a half years jailtime.
Quite a jarring story to write about, I can only wonder why as a parent you’d leave it for two years before actually starting to give a crap. I mean surely after a few months of disappearing money you’d begin to develop concern over your child’s behaviour?
And even if you didn’t, at what point do you decide that too much is too much. Is $200,000 TWD some magical number that set off the Jiens or, due to their own frustration and combination of shitty parenting, was this beating a long time coming?
Obviously not all Taiwanese kids are going to perfect bookworm engineers (although according to his school Jien Junior was well above average), but beating your twelve year old kid to death because you’re too lazy or stupid to teach them not to steal?
Jailtime please and throw away the key. 12 years just isn’t long enough.
Source: Apple Daily (warning, article contains etremely disturbing hospital image of Jien Junior’s beaten body)