Li Jiazhuo, 14, was bundled away one afternoon in May by two burly men who identified themselves as education bureau officers there to investigate his truancy from school.

Except they were not from the education bureau but were orderlies from an internet detox centre run by an ex-Army colonel.

They had gone to drag the teenager away from his computer at the behest of his mother, who had watched her son skip meals and forgo sleep to play online games for 20 hours a day for weeks.

His favourite titles were League of Legends and Honor of Kings, both owned