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Police halt 7-seater van, 31 kids inside

(Global Times)

13:59, November 02, 2011

Police stopped an overcrowded kindergarten school bus Monday, in which 31 preschoolers and two adults were squeezed inside a minivan with only seven seats.

After receiving a tip-off about the minivan, which was transporting migrant children to the Mingri Zhixing Kindergarten at Laiguangying township in Chaoyang district, police from Yayuncun traffic squad tracked it down and seized the minivan and the driver.

The children were on their way home Monday afternoon, the Legal Mirror reported Tuesday.

After police pulled the van over, the children shouted out, telling police they could not breathe.

The driver, surnamed Liu, is the kindergarten's head teacher, and police fined him 300 yuan ($47.2) and told him to cease transporting children. However as it was rush hour, the children had to pack back inside the minivan, which was then escorted by police.

Liu used the vehicle to pick up children living in the Wangjing area from this year, said a teacher, surnamed Zhang, from the kindergarten.

Liu told police he is aware of the safety hazards, but still risks the drive for the sake of parents who are migrant workers and cannot afford expensive kindergartens in Wangjing.

Zhang said that most children did not show up Tuesday, and only a few parents sent their children to school by motorcycle or bikes.

"How can migrant workers afford cars to send their children to school since they live so far away?" Zhang said.

The busy parents urged the head teacher to pick up their children, and they paid a fee of 100 yuan per month, according to Zhang.

"Probably the kindergarten will just cancel the bus service, as the kindergarten hasn't been making money for a long time," Zhang said, saying that the kindergartens' three teachers often had to wait for their salaries.

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