Friday, 27. March 2015
05. 06. 14. - 16:00
An entire family in China has committed suicide after racking up hundreds of pounds on credit cards they were unable to pay back.
The deaths have stirred a national debate in the country over the easy access to credit that people not use to money now have as the country becomes ever more western in its ways.
The tragedy happened in the city of Shanghai. The family - a mother and father and their 25-year-old son - lit a basin full of charcoal in their home and waited for the lethal fumes to do their work.
The father was Zhang Lu, 69, the mother Lin Lung, 62, and their son Zhang Tang. According to police who quizzed relatives after the bodies were found, the family despaired of ever being able to pay off the mountain of debt they had incurred.
A police spokesman said: "Relatives of the family knew they were in a desperate situation and had been told of plans they were formulating to end their lives. Unfortunately they did not take the threats seriously.
"When the relatives went to the flat after they were missing for a day the door was closed. When firemen broke the door by force, the family were already dead, poisoned by the charcoal fumes."
The family had stuffed towels into windows and door cracks to effectively create a gas chamber in their living room.
According to the relatives, the family invested in a businesses that had failed and ran heavily in debt on their credit cards as a result. The exact sum was 900 GBP - a fortune in Chinese terms.
People like them are bombarded with offers of easy credit every month. China now has helplines and counsellors for people struggling to overcome their personal debt mountains.
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