13 detained over death in Chinese Internet rehab boot camp

Chinese police have detained 13 people over the death by beating of a teenager at an Internet addiction camp in southern China, according to state media.

The Qihang Salvation Training Camp, one of many boot camp-style centers for Internet obsession in China, was found to be unlicensed and closed down Friday, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Last month, China banned the use of shock therapy to treat Internet addiction  after its use at one hospital sparked nationwide controversy.

Parents of 122 other students took them home from the camp in Guangxi province and police are investigating the case, it said.

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A week earlier, a 15-year-old boy was allegedly put in solitary confinement, scolded and beaten to death within one day of his arrival at the camp. The boy’s father found his bloodied body in a local hospital, where camp staff said they had sent him because of a severe fever.

Other Internet addiction camps  in China are licensed and sometimes subsidized by the government. Conservative officials blame hugely popular online games like World of Warcraft for getting teens hooked on the Web, harming their grades in school and dividing them from their parents. Some of the camps have used shock treatment on students, but China banned the practice last month.

Separately, China in recent weeks detained two hackers for stealing 450 million won (US$368,000) from South Korean bank accounts, Xinhua said. The suspects, based in a Chinese city that borders North Korea, had stolen the money from 86 South Korean nationals over more than a year, it said. South Korean police had asked China to help crack the cross-border case, the report said.

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