If you’re a fan of Hong Kong dramas then you might have heard of the film, Lost and Love starring Andy Lau.
Essentially, the film details the story of a father determined to find his long-lost son who was a victim of kidnapping.
The film ends with him being unsuccessful in his quest. The film was actually based on a true story but don’t worry because today, 6 years after the film’s debut, the father who inspired the film has finally been reunited with his son.
After an arduous 24-year search, Guo Gangtang and his wife had a tearful reunion with their son who was kidnapped in 1997. Two kidnappers abducted the boy and sold him off to a couple who took care of him and even gave him a university education.
While the reunion itself is enough to pull on your heartstrings, it is Guo’s decades long sacrifice to find his son that is the most heart-wrenching element of this story.
For years on end, Guo rode over 10 motorcycles and searched over 500,000km of land that spanned all of the mainland’s provinces, except Tibet and Xinjiang, in order to find his son. According to him, “only on the road, [he] felt like [he] was a father.”
When Guo’s son first went missing, it made a drastic impact on him. His hair turned grey and he lost 20kg within the span of one month. Ever since then, he went on a hellbent mission to retrieve his son.
He distributed missing posters every day and even made a website that has since helped the police find over 100 other abducted children.
Through rainstorms, road accidents, muggings and even the occasional naps under bridges, Guo kept going. When he contemplated suicide, he stared at his son’s pictures and imagined him saying, “Dad, Xiao Liu [the boy’s nickname] is accompanying you in the rainstorm.”
After Guo’s son was found, many commended him for his bravery, including Andy Lau who played his character for free since he was so inspired by his story, but Guo had something else to say.
He said, “Many people say I am a great father. But I am not great at all. I am helpless. I just lack the courage to restart life after experiencing tremendous hardship. Therefore I kept on searching.”
The kidnappers surnamed Hu and Tang, who were a couple at the time of the boy’s abduction, are now in prison. Hu was already imprisoned for another offence while Tang was apprehended the same day of the boy’s return.
The family is naturally overjoyed to have their son back. Guo’s wife exclaimed, “My baby, you came back!”
Guo’s determination to find his son has in-turn helped the police reunite other families with their children and even strengthened anti-abduction initiatives in China.
Since the ministry launched the Reunion Project at the beginning of last year to speed up the investigation of abduction cases, 2,609 victims have been found, with one case from 61 years ago being solved.