A teenage boy butchered his mother to death with a kitchen knife after she refused to give him money to visit an internet café. Said to be 'heavily addicted' to the internet, the boy also gravely injured his father when he was denied access to his favourite sites.

The boy, known as 'Wang' in the Chinese state media, had apparently decided to kill his parents over a month earlier. "After his dad got home, Wang hacked at him causing serious injury. Seeing what he had done, Wang went to his room and sat on his bed," the Beijing Youth Daily newspaper reported.

After barely surviving the brutal attack, Wang's father staggered bleeding from the family home to get help and call the police, after which his son was arrested.

Hooked on the web

Wang, who is under 16, was so hooked on the internet that he'd spend all his spare time in internet cafés in his home town of Guangdong. The thought of being denied access to the internet was enough to make him brutally attack his parents.

In March, China announced that it had banned anyone from opening a new internet café for at least the next year. It came after rising cases of severe internet addiction in the communist state. The Xinhua news agency quoted a Chinese government statement as saying: "In 2007, local governments must not sanction the opening of new internet bars."

Xinhua said that in China there are already over 110,000 internet cafés, with many thousands planned to open soon.

Even internet cafés which have already received planning permission will need to be ready by the end of June, otherwise they risk being shut down before they open their doors. "It is common to see students from primary and middle schools lingering in internet bars overnight, puffing on cigarettes and engrossed in online games," NPC deputy Yu Wen said.

It's a drastic measure in a government campaign which has already banned minors from using internet cafés. Any cybercafé which serves an underage web surfer is given a substantial fine.

Boredom has been cited as the main reason for soaring rates of internet addiction in China in the last few years. Chinese research suggests that 13 per cent of China's 18 million under-18 web users are internet addicts.