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American With Good Intentions Ridiculed For Helping Victim In China

Posted: 09/18/2014 2:07 pm

nanjing broken vase foreignerThe “broken vase” trick is a scam in China where con artists feign being accident victims in order to win cash settlements from unsuspecting people that think they are at fault. It’s an old scam with many variations, and it’s a main reason why Chinese people are usually more than reluctant to help anyone in need, lest they became victims of fraud themselves.

Adding to the number of savvy Chinese that can spot such a scam, Weibo user ”Piggy Sister That Doesn’t Want To Grow Up” published pictures that show “a clear and brazen case of the broken vase scam”.

READ: What the Broken Vase Scam Is, and How to Avoid Being Duped

The photographs show a man with an injured leg in the middle of the road outside the Nanjing Red Cross Society Hospital on the morning of September 17. A three-wheeled vehicle idles beside him as pedestrians and cyclists simply pass the fallen man.

When a non-Chinese man wearing dark green clothes comes forward to give help, he is criticized for having fallen for the “broken vase” scam. Of this, the Weibo user said, “The laowai can never understand…”

Many local shop owners said the incident happened after 7am when a non-Chinese man was seen speaking to the victim. Then he left, according to a reporter.

nanjing broken vase foreigner

“Reminded Me of My Mother”

The reporter was able to track down the would-be good samaritan, a 30-something expat from the USA named “Sam” (a pseudonym) who is currently working in Nanjing. Sam said seeing the victim reminded him of his own mother, who was recently involved in a traffic accident herself.

However, Sam said he became very doubtful when he saw bystanders gathering to laugh at him. One bystander waved a hand at him and shouted, “No, no, no!”

READ: Guangzhou Drunk Drivers Extorted in Staged Collisions

Sam was not able to communicate with the man, who would only cover his forehead with his left hand and sporadically let out a shrill cry of pain. Sam saw he couldn’t do anything, so left. He said he couldn’t understand why the bystanders were trying to get him to stop.

nanjing broken vase foreigner

“Broken Vase” or No “Broken Vase”?

For this to be a “broken vase” scam, the con artist would try to blame the fraud victim (Sam) for the accident and attempt to extort money, which didn’t happen. However, local Nanjing residents were still suspicious because the incident happened just outside of a hospital.

The Yueya Lake police sub-station confirmed the incident was not a “broken vase” scam, but something else entirely.

The story is this: Police from the Yueya Lake sub-station responded to a burglary at 1pm at Zhonghe Bridge after a man fell from a second story apartment. This unidentified man was not confirmed to be a thief, and was taken to Nanjing Red Cross Society Hospital to treat his broken leg.

The police say the unnamed man blamed police for the fall, and wants them to pay his hospital bill. Upon being discharged, the man lay down in the middle of the road as a way to claim his rights.

nanjing broken vase foreigner




What the Broken Vase Scam Is, and How to Avoid Being Duped

Posted: 09/15/2014 9:00 am

broken vase trick scam

Oh, China. Foreigners and Chinese people alike fall for your many scams and get-rich-quick schemes.

One scam, identified as the “broken vase”, was recently caught on video in Shenzen. Although it can take a number of forms, all it really requires is a staged accident or collision to dupe a motorist into believing that he or she is responsible for causing injury or damage. It can be as simple as crawling under a stopped bus or as brazen as intimidating drunk drivers with a car full of surly men.

A  surveillance video caught one such incident in Shanghai’s Jiuting, Songjiang District. As explained by the Shenzhen Traffic Police, the “broken vase” scam has many participants playing different roles.

broken vase trick scam

Step One: The Instigation - A driver drives very slowly to frustrate the car behind him. Notice how the silver, instigating car is travelling at the same speed as the bicycle (the “broken vase”) to its right.

broken vase trick scam

Step Two: The Overtake - The frustrated motorist driving the black car decides to overtake the instigating car by passing to its right.

broken vase trick scam

Step Three: The Collision - While passing, the black car’s driver is presumably focused to his left. This is when the cyclist purposely collides with the black car.

broken vase trick scam

Step Four: The Fall. The cyclist falls and claims to be injured because the driver decided to overtake the slower vehicle. The driver is unable to defend himself and will (likely) be willing to pay the money asked by the “broken vase”. During the confrontation between the driver and the cyclist, witnesses (who are usually a part of the scam) often show up to help the “broken vase”.

Here’s the entire scam caught in a GIF:

broken vase trick scam

Scams in China depend on simplicity to be effective, but, it should be remembered that there is usually more than one or two people involved. Hopefully, a little knowledge of the trick’s mechanics will prevent further marks from being duped.

Photos: Shenzhen Traffic Police


Guangzhou Drunk Drivers Extorted in Staged Collisions

Posted: 06/6/2014 12:29 pm

drunk driving broken vase guangzhouThe “broken vase tactic” (碰瓷) is a notorious practice in which traffic collisions are staged in order to extort money. Feared by many Chinese drivers, this unscrupulous tactic has now found itself a new mark in Guangzhou—the drunk driver.

The public security bureau of Baiyun District, in conjunction with the Guangzhou police, have caught three members of an extortion ring that targeted drunk drivers by waiting for them at the front of restaurants, reports iFeng.

Two cases have come to light that showed this gang in action.

On March 6, Mr Chen and a client were out for a late snack near Wanda Hotel in Baiyun District; both men had been drinking alcohol. At 10pm, Chen got into his car and had started driving 300 meters towards Airport Road when he got into a collision with a black Toyota Camry. Exiting his car, Chen noticed that the front bumper of the Camry fell off. Chen later told reporters, “However, my own car didn’t have any problems, and that’s how I knew I was the victim of a ‘broken vase’ trick.”

The four male occupants in the Camry all accused Chen of being drunk and demanded he pay RMB 30,000 in compensation. Chen refused, and called for the police. Chen had a sobriety test when the police arrived; judged to be legally drunk, Chen was charged with drunk driving. However, the driver of Camry continued to ask for compensation, suing Chen for RMB 9,000.

In another incident, Mr Lu, a company manager, was out dining at an eatery near Qifu Road on March 8 and had also been drinking. At around 10pm, after driving 100 meters from the restaurant, Lu was hit from behind by another car. When Lu got out, he saw that it was a black Toyota Camry with multiple people in it who all accused him of drunk driving.

Lu tried to flee the scene, but was closely followed by the black Camry. However, Lu lost control of his vehicle at Guangyuan West Road and collided with a flower pot road divider. Lu was beaten by the occupants of the Camry and demanded Lu pay RMB 60,000 in compensation. Ultimately, they alerted police who charged Lu with driving under the influence of alcohol. Due to a fight that broke out between the two parties, Lu and the driver of the Camry were taken back to the police station.

There, police identified the driver of the black Camry as Lan X Rong*, 30 years-old and originally hailing from Yingde, Guangdong. Lan was discovered to have been involved in over 10 accidents from November to December last year that were all collisions with drunk drivers.

Lan confessed to targeting drunk drivers to extort in a plan that started in the second half of 2013.

* X signifies information that was not published in the report

Photo: iFeng


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