Another Mysterious Chinese Teenager ‘Spinach’ Death

In the early morning of November 28, Wu Gui, a 19 year old man fell from a tall building Sihanoukville. On his thigh he had written his last message to the world with a black marker pen: “injustice” and “victim”. This news appeared to be kept from the usual media outlets in Cambodia.

He had been planning to return to China on December 27, and then never go back to Cambodia again.

Back in his hometown, he wanted to go to university and go into regular business. In Sihanoukville, he was a promoter for online gambling.

He was one of the many young people hidden behind tens of thousands of internet cables. They get recruited to Cambodia for jobs in sales and typing. After getting the plane, their passports were confiscated, and their phones were supervised.

Wu Gui’s hometown is 1501.3 kilometers away from Sihanoukville. It is a small town surrounded by rivers and green mountains. The nearest urban area is a 5 hour drive on a winding mountain road.

After the Spring Festival in 2018, Wu Ji, who was just 18 years old, left the house silently. He first arrived in the capital city by bus, then boarded a plane for the first time and finally landed in the tropical country facing the summer heat.

He worked in Sihanoukville, called Westport by Chinese, which had rapidly grown to become the second largest city after Phnom Penh. 

Large and small gambling operators were located in the area, under the cover of the casino’s legal status. Wu Gui told his mother Fang Hong that he made money here, he would go home and start a small business.

Fang Hong didn’t know what her son was doing, she just felt that this job abroad was very different. Days started at 11 am and ended at 11 pm.

Her son could not send her any pictures, saying it wasn’t allowed. On the other hand, Wu Gui would transfer more than 4,000 yuan ($570) to her family every month.

In July of this year, Wu Gui returned home from. After a few days of rest, he went to the driving school to sign up for a car. The next life plan included returning to school, starting a business, taking care of home. He told his parents that he would never go to Sihanoukville again because he was tired. “That kind of tiredness is not physical tiredness, but more mental tiredness. ”

That was until he received information from a former colleague, asking him to go back to get an outstanding bonus, which was more than 70,000 yuan (almost $10,000).

On October 1st, he left the house silently, just like when he left last time, he told Fang Hong that he was going to take the money, and to help the family live a good life.

The family lost contact on November 20. On the 29th his mother was rushed to Cambodia after learning of his death.

An autopsy report provided by the local police, said he had no food in his stomach, and as he disappeared from the 20th to the 28th, she concluded that her child was, for some reason, being held against his will in one of the ‘punishment’ rooms used by illegal gambling gangs to keep workers in line.

She saw his body in Phnom Penh, pale, thin and with wounds to the thighs and the remains of his written message.

Gui’s father, Wu Gang, a simple truck driver and his wife traveled abroad for the first time to collect their son’s body. Neither accept the suicide verdict conclusion given the local police, they want a truth and justice. His last message on his body show that.

When Fang Hong arrived in Phnom Penh, two young men claiming to her son’s colleagues found her, claiming again that he was suffering from depression and committed suicide. Fang Hong wanted their faces photographed, which made them angry.

Several local translators were asked to help, but when they heard that they were the parents of the 19-year-old boy, they refused to get involved.

In fact, this is not the first similar incident in Sihanoukville that month. On November 12, a 17-year-old from Guangdong died in mysterious circumstances.

Those who try to leave the so called ‘spinach farms’ are often beaten or forced to pay thousands of dollars to the bosses in ‘release’ fees.

Xiaowen, a friend of Wu Gui, also revealed that before the death of Wu Gui, there was another key figure defrauded more than 3,000 U.S. dollars from the operation, and the company issued a “hunting order”.

“Almost all people in Westport are afraid of the “hunting order”, that is, the company will announce it on a local internet platform called “paper airplane”, and then the “bounty hunter” who has been active in Westport for a long time will stay at the airport. When the people arrive at the embassy (*or airport), they are caught and taken back to the enterprise to receive the bounty….. he must have something to do with Wu Gui’s death.”

At 16:51 on December 11, Cambodian time, Wu Gui was cremated in Phnom Penh. At this time, Fang Hong took a screenshot and fixed it in her phone. She couldn’t remember her feelings at the time, she just kept squatting on the ground and gathered and picked up her son’s ashes, which she couldn’t afford.

The next day, she sprinkled the ashes in the Mekong.”It was very windy that day, and the sun had just come out. We rented a boat to the middle of the Mekong River. My child, at the junction of the mountains and the river, was facing the sun. ” Today, Fang Hong wears her son’s driver’s license registration card around her neck, placed in the sweater near the heart.

It was later learned that the organisation involved had quickly left Cambodia and is now operating in the Philippines.

*All names have been changed.

* Origianl report by Du Jiangqian/Cover News

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