A 41-year-old man from Hunan province who had gone missing for more than a decade was finally reunited with his family on Sunday after a childhood friend recognized him in the streets of Guangzhou, The Paper reports.
A housewife surnamed Zhou said while walking in a wet market in Huangpu District on Saturday when she saw a beggar with amputated feet lying on the ground in a prone position.
Something about the man made her stop and look more closely at him, she said, and that was when she recognized him as her childhood friend, Peng Xiaoliu.
Zhou and her husband then tried to verify his identity, first by asking his name in Liuyang dialect.
They then took snapshots of Peng and sent the pictures to his family in Hunan for confirmation.
After confirming his identity, the couple told him that he should come with them to return home.
But a man in his 50s arrived at the scene and tried to drag Peng away.
Zhou suspected that her friend had fallen victim to a crime syndicate, who could also be responsible for his amputated feet and begging act. They called the police.
Peng, however, could not verify Zhou’s suspicion about the man, who was later released without any charges.
The next day Peng was reunited with his family.
According to his family, Peng had sustained a head injury before he went missing 12 years ago.
They noted that Peng’s injury appeared to have turned worse.
But to their relief, Peng remembered all of them and called each one of them by name.
Regarding his amputated feet, he said he was attacked by dogs.
Peng’s mother said her heart broke when she saw her son without feet.
His elder brother vowed to uncover the mystery behind Peng’s extended absence, and seek compensation if the people responsible for his sufferings are caught.
Peng told The Paper reporter in an interview that he begged in the streets to help others, but also said he gave money to their “boss” for gasoline and clothes.
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