A 18-year-old from eastern China is reported to have died from multiple injuries after he was sent to an internet addiction treatment camp.
The young man, identified as Li Ao from Anhui, was confirmed dead on August 5 – two days after he started receiving gaming addiction treatment at the camp, according to a report from anhuinews.com.
The centre, which was named as the “Positive Energy Education Centre”, has been ordered to close and its director and staff were held by police.
The boy’s mother, surnamed Liu, was quoted as saying that she sent her son to the centre after she became concerned that he was becoming addicted to the internet and was unwilling to go to school.
She visited the website of a treatment centre in Baishan township in Lujiang county offering “psychological counselling and physical training”. The website highlighted what it claimed were a number of successful treatments.
Liu was asked to pay a 1,000 yuan deposit on August 3 when she took her son to the centre. The total cost of the course was 22,800 yuan.
Two days later, Liu and her husband received a call telling them that their son had been taken to hospital. When they arrived at the hospital, they were told their son had been confirmed dead.
A postmortem examination found he had suffered more than 20 external injuries. Liu was quoted as saying: “The scars could be seen at each part of his body, from top to toe.”
The report said the centre had been operating illegally as it did not have a licence.
An official with the township’s government, whose name was not given, was quoted as saying they had ordered the centre to close in June but it continued to operate.
The cause of the death is still under investigation and it was not immediately clear who would be responsible.