A Chinese teenager, who was reportedly suffering from an extreme form of internet addiction, has chopped off his left hand in the hope of recovering from the "epidemic".
The 19-year-old boy, known only as "Little Wang", smuggled a kitchen knife from his home and sneaked out so that he can chop his hand off in the absence of any witness, reports The Telegraph. The boy had also left a note for his mother, asking her not to worry. "Mum, I have gone to hospital for a while," it read. "Don't worry. I will definitely come back this evening."
After harming himself, the teenager hired a taxi and went to an A&E nearby, leaving the severed hand behind. A local television channel reportedly displayed the gory images of the bloody bench on which Little Wang allegedly sat while chopping off his hand.
Although the surgeons at the local university hospitals were able to re-attach it for him, they warned that he may never be able to gain back its full functionality. "We cannot accept what has happened. It was completely out of the blue. He was a smart boy," his mother was quoted as telling the reporters.
One of his teachers blamed his internet addiction for making him so "impetuous".
China has a large number of internet users. According to an army psychologist in Beijing, about 14 per cent of the country's youth is addicted of the internet.
China sees the condition as a clinical disorder, the symptoms of which range from skipping school to rarely leaving bedrooms and basically living in a virtual universe.
The lawmakers in Taiwain even approved a move last month to fine parents who allowed their children to spend excessive amounts of time using "electronic products". Meanwhile, Japan is combating the epidemic by setting up internet "fasting camps".