During a routine check of a car highway police discovered five healthy newborns in the back seat. Arrested adults appeared to be linked a baby-snatching ring.
The three boys and two girls, all about 10 days old, were found June 3 in the back seat of a black four-door sedan when police stopped the car at a toll booth in Nangong, a city in northern China's Hebei province. The driver and a male passenger escaped.
Police have yet to locate the infants' parents more than a month after they were saved, said a Nangong police spokeswoman who would only give her surname, Zhang.
China has a thriving trade in babies that are stolen or bought from poor families and then sold to couples who want another child, a servant or a future bride for a son.
The spokeswoman said that authorities arrested Zhang Shuanglong, a villager from Xinzhou village in north China's Shanxi province, last Thursday, and that he confessed to buying the babies and selling them to the two men.
The car's registration details lead police to Zhang, the spokeswoman said, without giving details. Earlier reports said the car was reported stolen in Shanghai. It was not immediately clear whether Zhang had falsely reported the car stolen.
Zhang told police that the two men, who are still at large and have been identified only by their nicknames 'Little Black' and 'Little Bright,' were taking the babies to the eastern coastal province of Shandong to sell when they were stopped at the toll booth, the police spokeswoman said.
"It is still unclear whether the infants were sold by their parents or stolen," she said.
According to a statement on the Hebei Public Security Web site posted Wednesday, provincial police also found another two trafficked male infants during a spot check of a pickup truck in Jingxing county on June 29. Three men and a woman were arrested.
The suspects admitted they bought the boys in Xinzhou and planned to sell them in Shandong, but police did not think the case was related to the five babies found on June 3, the statement said.
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