Internet addicts at a Chinese rehab clinic have been recaptured after a mass breakout in which they tied their instructor to his bed.
According to local media reports, they couldn’t take the harsh regime, which involved a 5.00am alarm call and military excercises without a joystick in sight.
Apparently the 14 young men, aged between 14 and 22, immobilised their tormentor and fled, unfortunately wearing prison-style suits.
Some attempted to escape in a cab, but were recaptured after failing to pay the driver; others made it back home but were quickly returned by their parents.
One mother cried, telling the Yangtze Evening News that her son had been playing for 28 hours non-stop.
While it hasn’t been classified as a disorder in the US, internet addiction is an accepted phenomenon in China, and it’s on the rise. A 2009 study in European Psychiatry found that over 10 percent of Chinese college students were internet addicts.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the routine at the clinic includes courses in calligraphy and philosophy, as well as a punishing exercise regime. Worried parents pay up to $3,000 to get their kids out of gaming’s evil grip.
But it’s not as tough as some – last year a similar clinic was found to have beaten a recalcitrant teenage internet addict to death.