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Caught: Crippled Beggar Cured Magically By Telephoto Lens

A fake handicapped beggar in China?

A crippled beggar in China?

This curious story was originally posted by someone called Yuan Shengtai. I point this out because he has the strange habit of referring to himself in the third person.

On a Sina blog:

Beggar fakes paralysis, deceiving even the police, to cheat people!

When coming across unfortunate beggars in the big cities, many passersby who are not in a rush to get somewhere and are kind-hearted might generously open their wallets. Yuan Shengtai has foolishly given away money like this before, but now that he thinks about it, he is regretting it. Recently there have been reports of beggars on the metro pretending to be crippled, taking advantage of passengers to get their money, and stories of those who attack those pretty girls who don’t pay up. At the time, Yuan Shengtai was even thinking, whether or not that person is really crippled, are you, as a well-intentioned person, really unable to tell?

Last Saturday October 16, or the day before yesterday at around 2pm, Yuan Shengtai was crossing the pedestrian bridge in front of Zhongguancun Building in Haiding when he witnessed an old beggar who lay on the ground pretending to be crippled. When he was photographed and exposed, he twice stood up to yell at Yuan Shengtai. Afterwards, the civil police told Yuan Shengtai: “Thanks for seeing him for who he really is. Over the last few days we have seen with our very eyes, he slowly drags himself from this bridge to that one, then pull himself back down to street level, so we always thought he was a real cripple.” See, see how good at faking it this beggar is, even tricking the cops, haha.

The following 18 pictures are a chronological account of the real events. If you want to know what really happened when the dishonest beggar was found out, please follow Yuan Shengtai’s lens.

Pedestrians look back at a beggar lying on the ground.

As Yuan Shengtai climbed to the top of the pedestrian bridge, he noticed everyone looking at something.

A crippled beggar in China?

Following their gaze, the camera lens shows a supposedly crippled beggar on the ground begging.

A crippled beggar in China?

As this photo is taken, we can see from the beggar’s expression that he has noticed Yuan Shengtai’s camera pointing at him.

A fake handicapped beggar in China?

The once “paralyzed” beggar suddenly straightened up his upper body and his mouth began cursing Yuan Shengtai. It was this action that began to expose him.

At this point Yuan Shengtai circled around behind the beggar. Next to him were two other people that had come up the bridge at the same time. As they walked, one said: “So old, and disabled too, poor man.” Yuan Shengtai looked at them and said: “Don’t leave, he might stand up and come over to beat me.”

The two replied, “Surely not! He’s clearly a paraplegic, lying there on the ground, isn’t he?” Just as they said this, the beggar turned around his head around and seeing that Yuan Shengtai had not left, whoosh! he jumped to his feet, quick as a flash, before Yuan Shengtai could even get a picture of it. :)

A beggar who was pretending to be crippled suddenly stands up to walk away.

Look, he’s standing up now, picking up his things.

A beggar who was pretending to be crippled suddenly stands up to walk away.

Gathering everything up, hurling abuse at Yuan Shengtai all the while.

A beggar who was pretending to be crippled suddenly stands up to walk away.

Just like this, he charged at Yuan Shengtai, pointing and swearing.

Beggar (had a heavy accent, but the gist of it was): Why are you taking photos?

Yuan Shengtai: You’re not disabled, why are you pretending to be paralyzed to trick/cheat people?

Beggar: It’s none of your business.

Yuan Shengtai: You’re here conning people out of money and I saw it so it is my business.

Then he tried to follow Yuan Shengtai down the stairs, so Yuan Shengtai ignored him. But, to his surprise, when Yuan Shengtai had reached the traffic lights after coming off the stairs, he turned around and, where did he go? As it turned out, even following Yuan Shengtai down the stairs was a ruse, he just wanted to shoo away the stickybeak Yuan Shengtai.

Yuan Shengtai mulled over it, and realised that the old beggar was probably still at it on the bridge, so he went back up. His EXIF camera records the time at which pictures were taken, so the next series of photos record what happened six minutes later.

A Chinese beggar pretends to be disabled=

Back on the bridge and sure enough, that beggar is still going, lying on the ground begging. He looks so unfortunate.

A Chinese beggar pretends to be disabled=

In the background you can see the civil police on duty, which is good news. Yuan Shengtai’s knights in shining armor.

Since it’s often reported that beggars operate in gangs, Yuan Shengtai was worried that if he took it too far a whole group would appear to take care of him. But seeing the police made him relax, haha. Yuan Shengtai went over to the civil police and told them:

Yuan Shengtai: Officers, that beggar is pretending to be crippled, he’s tricking people.

Police: No way, are you sure? Isn’t he on the ground because he is paralyzed?

Yuan Shengtai: I just took some photos of it, he can stand up, he’s quite able bodied.

Police: Really? Show me.

……

After seeing Yuan Shengtai’s photos, the Civil Police said: “Well, yes, he can stand like an able bodied person. “Thanks for seeing him for who he really is. Over the last few days we have seen with our very eyes, he slowly drags himself from this bridge to that one, then pulls himself back down to street level, so we always thought he was a real cripple.”

Just as they said this Yuan Shengtai turned around, and the old beggar saw him. See the photos below for what happened next.

A beggar who pretends to be crippled to get sympathy.

Seeing something is up, he stands up hesitantly.

A beggar who pretends to be crippled to get sympathy.

Quickly and with agility, he jumps up and gathers up his outfit.

A beggar who pretends to be crippled to get sympathy.

Packing up.

A beggar who pretends to be crippled to get sympathy.

Still packing up.

A beggar who pretends to be crippled to get sympathy.

Having packed up, he exits on the other side of the bridge. Before descending, he points at Yuan Shengtai, still cursing and swearing at him.

A fake beggar flees from the camera.

The beggar descending the stairs of the pedestrian bridge.

A beggar who was pretending to be crippled walks away.

After descending the bridge, a picture of health.

A beggar who was pretending to be crippled walks away, looking back at the photographer who caught him.

Having walked some distance, he still turns round and looks at Yuan Shengtai.

A beggar who was pretending to be crippled walks away.

The beggar quickly walks to an intersection, and disappears in the crowd. Is he still plying his trade somewhere else?

Comments from the Sina blog:

土豆仔的围脖:

Ai, this is how generous people are taken advantage of. It could be a metaphor for a lot of society’s problems!

清风浮云:

You have to have a good eye to be able to tell the difference between real beggars and fake ones.

德静_股市独行侠:

People that don’t work, and live off other people are disgraceful.

老镇轶闻:

This is why I never take any notice of beggars.

月夜歌者:

He won’t be able to go there any more!
Yuan Shengtai, you’ve driven him out of business!

云中龙:

I used to tell my friends, all the beggars in the big cities are in on it together, they are all fakes! But none of them believe me, saying something about having to look at their eyes!
But that’s no use, whenever I look they all look shifty to me, so why do my friends always say they look honest?
I’ve even heard of beggars employing people to sell vegetables for them, so they can go begging! I take out my camera to take a photo of them, and they threaten to hit it out of my hands, so outrageous/shameless!

无声的世界:

I hate this kind of beggar, he’s not that old and has four healthy limbs. Not living off his own labour, pretending to be a crazy beggar, don’t give him anything under any circumstances.

陈继革水晶医生:

There are too many beggars on the streets now, it’s hard to say who’s honest and who’s not, you might as well ignore them all!

村里一枝花:

These photos are a little unfair, he’s so old, if he was able to earn money do you think he’d still be begging, why are you picking on the little guy, why don’t you take photos of someone else.

Comments from NetEase:

人生如画:

This happened to me in 1964. At that time my family was very poor, for Spring Festival we bought two fish (about 500 grams). Mother told me to give one to a paraplegic beggar. The day after, I saw that paraplegic beggar early in the morning running to the toilet. That’s why I never give beggars money.

8278lyy:

He’s so old, do you expect him to go out and work? If you don’t want to give him anything leave him alone. He’s not stopping anyone from doing anything,
you should go undercover to the “relevant authorities” if you want some really revealing photos.

2003373405:

Fuck, because of these con artists the ones that really need help can’t get it.

sky558888:

Professional beggars can earn thirty thousand RMB a month.

zhangfeng198:

Let it go, although this beggar is pretending to be crippled, he’s so old and he’s crawling on the ground all day, that isn’t easy either.

If you have nothing to do, take some photos of those people who take wallets, or bags, and expose them. If everything was okay in your life, would crawl on the ground to make money?

Are you able to tell the difference between a real beggar and a fake beggar? What experiences have you had? Have you caught a fake beggar before?

Real or fake? Personals @ chinaSMACK.

Written by maxiewawa

Native English speaker who'd like to make a living from translating some day. Until then continuing to teach English.

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