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'Kids drugged, molested at Beijing kindergarten'

BEIJING/SHANGHAI: Chinese police are investigating claims of sexual molestation and needlemarks on children at a Beijing kindergarten, the latest case in a booming childcare industry to spark outrage among parents.

The official Xinhua news agency said late on Thursday that police were checking allegations that some teachers and staff at the kindergarten, run by pre-school operator RYB Education Inc, had abused children, who were "reportedly sexually molested, pierced by needles and given unidentified pills".

Parents said their children, some as young as three, relayed troubling accounts of a naked adult male conducting purported "medical checkups" on students, who were also unclothed, other media said.

Some parents, who gathered outside the school to demand answers on Thursday, said their children gave matching accounts of being fed unidentified tablets and of punishments where students were "made to stand" naked in class, media said.

"We deeply apologise for the serious anxiety this matter has brought to parents and society," RYB said in a statement on its official microblog yesterday, adding that it was helping the authorities. - REUTERS

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