Elderly Scams Make Chinese Think Twice Before Helping

Surveillance video helps find the truth

Charles Liu , May 12, 2016 10:36am (updated)

While Chinese culture emphasizes the care and protection of one’s elders, a recent string of incidents in which elderly people fall and then attempt to blame those around them for compensation has left many questioning whether they should assist the elderly at all.

However, with many Chinese cities now covered in traffic surveillance cameras, distinguishing between those genuinely in need and those looking to make a buck has never been easier. Take the recent case of an eighty year-old Beijing woman for example.

The woman, named Zhang, claimed a female cyclist struck her while she was walking down the street. The surveillance footage tells a different story, however. We can see Zhang walking in the middle of a pedestrian path, and after a vehicle passes to her right, she falls to the ground. Unfortunately, Zhang falls into the path of a cyclist, who collides with her, unable to get out of the way in time. The cyclist herself then falls.

beijing fall down elderly

Following the accident, Zhang was adamant that the cyclist had struck her first, a story she recounted to the police when they arrived. Yet eyewitnesses refuted Zhang’s version of the truth. According to one person, Zhang was angry that their account of the event was inconsistent with hers, telling the witness: “This is none of your concern, what are you doing calling the police?

Netizens were quick to turn on the old woman, calling her cheat and a fraud: “Send her to heaven (by killing her),” said one netizen, while another said “I’ll put in ten yuan. Who will kill this old lady for me?

Other netizens wanted the old woman to be held legally accountable for making false accusations. One person said, “Entrapping other people should garner a punishment, or else it will continue to spread,” while another said “Severely punish her! If this type of crime is not punished, what meaning is there is our country’s laws? What justice is there on earth?

Another netizen turned the entire situation on its head, saying, “If the cyclist is injured, does that mean the old person must compensate her?

Here’s a news video that contains footage of the incident (starts at 3:23):

Charles Liu

The Nanfang's Senior Editor