Police in Zhejiang, a province in the east of China, have detained a man accused of selling his 2-year-old son and using the money to go on holiday, local news stories said.

The man, surnamed Xie, fought often with his new wife and stepmother of his son. He is alleged to have sold his son Jiajia - to reduce the family's child care costs, the Zhejiang Legal Daily reported according to the South China Morning Post Monday.

Xie was given custody of the boy after divorcing the child's mother.

However, because Xie worked in another city he left the boy in the care of his brother Lin and other family members in Huzhou city.

The reports said Xie took his son in April and told his family the boy's mother wanted to see him.

But days later Lin discovered the boy never arrived at his mother's home. He contacted police when his brother declined to answer repeated messages.

Police said they discovered Xie had sold the boy to a childless couple in Changshu, a city in Jiangsu province, for 158,000 yuan ($24,400).

He spent the cash giving his latest wife a holiday in different parts of the country.

The couple face charges of using "criminal coercive measures." Jiajia has been found and returned to the custody of his uncle.

The reports said Xie and his former wife had two daughters who were also "given" to another family. Police didn't say if this was under investigation.

There is an illegal market in children in China in which babies are openly sold online, the BBC has reported.

Police say many of the victims are from the estimated 20,000 children abducted each year.

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