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Hsinchu students reported missing all located safely

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Shortly after they were reported missing by their parents, five teenagers were found by Hsinchu police yesterday.

According to the Third Precinct of the Hsinchu City Police Bureau, the teenagers, three female and two male students currently in junior high school, did not return home from school last Wednesday and seemed to have disappeared.

Local media reported Saturday that the authorities tried to contact the friends of the first missing student but soon realized that they too had gone missing. All five apparently had their cell phones switched off and left no posts indicating their whereabouts on their Facebook pages.

The case gained special urgency on Saturday, as one of the female students had reportedly taken a stash of sleeping pills with her, causing worries as the classmates of the missing students reported that the girls have expressed suicidal thoughts in the past.

Police posted the names and photos of the missing students on social media websites, hoping that netizens would assist them in locating the teenagers.

The teenagers were found on the streets in Hsinchu City. The five informed the police that they had sought refuge at the home of a friend's “godmother” in Xiangshan District, and they had spent their time chatting and went to internet cafes and KTV establishments in town. They had not run away to commit suicide, police said.

According to local media outlets, the female student, surnamed Kao, came up with the plan to “disappear” for the day. Kao reportedly often skipped classes with the other two female students. She was transferred to a school in Pingtung because her mother hoped she would remain in contact with the other two. After her relatives in Pingtung could no longer take care of her, Kao was transferred to another school last Wednesday and chose to express her anger at her family by running away on the same day.

The teenagers had not been doing drugs, the police said.

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