The parents of a Chinese boy who was rescued a little over a week ago after being kidnapped were arrested Monday for allegedly being in Japan illegally.

He Huoguang, 37-year-old employee at a Chinese noodle shop in Adachi Ward, Tokyo, and his wife, Chen Dingying, 39, were arrested on suspicion of violating the immigration control law, police said.

Their son, He Risheng, 6, was kidnapped for ransom June 6 by a group of men and women believed to be Chinese nationals and a Malaysian. He was rescued unhurt June 8 in a police raid on a condominium in Naka Ward, Yokohama. Some of the suspects know the parents.

Police said the father came to Japan in December 1988 on a student visa and has stayed here illegally since 1990. The mother allegedly arrived in October 1990, also on a student visa, and has stayed illegally since 1992.

The son was born in Japan.

After his son was rescued, the father told reporters 8 that he and his wife, despite their illegal status, alerted police right after they got the first phone call from the kidnappers, because they were so worried about their son.

According to police, the kidnappers demanded 15 million yen in ransom and reminded the couple that police would learn of their illegal status if they alerted authorities about the abduction.

Police quoted the father as saying Monday, “We wanted to save money by working in Japan, so we have stayed here, although we knew it is illegal. We were considering going back to China in the near future because our son is now 6 (and needs to go to school).”

The son is now in the custody of a local child welfare center in Adachi Ward, police said.

Koichi Kodama, a lawyer who supports refugees, severely criticized police for the arrests, calling them an outrage.

Kodama said the family should be granted special permission to remain in the country, as they have established a foundation here after living here for a decade.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.