Two schoolboys who went missing for five days sparking a huge police search were instead bunking off school to play games on their phones in an abandoned building.
The incident occurred after 14-year-old Yang Bo and his 15-year-old friend Sun Qiang went missing on their way to Guandian Town Middle School in Jianshi County in Enshi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture in China’s Hubei Province.
Local media report the boys have a 30-kilometre trip from their home village to school and one morning Yang’s father received a phone call saying his son had not appeared for classes.
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The worried dad then contacted the police and a search operation was launched. Investigators searched CCTV footage which showed the boys had arrived in the town but had not gone to school.
After searching all day the parents decided to call the Xinyueshan sniffer dog training company for help, and the company’s president Wu Longping said: “We immediately sent two sniffer dogs good at searching for people in the mountains.”
However, the dogs could not find the boys and serious crime units were involved in the five-day search for the missing teens.
On the fifth day, police officers found Yang and Sun seemingly healthy walking in the street.
When they were taken in they told officers they had been staying in an abandoned building, and Sun reportedly said: “We were hiding here because the abandoned building has nobody in it, only lots of dust on the gate. We played on our phones in the day and went out for food at night.”
And Yang added: “Studying at school is so difficult. I can’t bare it, and here I have a phone to play with.”
The owner of the building said she had no idea the two boys had been living there and the teenagers said they knew everybody had been looking for them but they had been too scared of being scolded by their parents to come clean.
Sun said: “Even at home I seldom speak to my dad.”