In what appears to be a sick way to let off steam, a 24-year-old man violently beat a 73-year-old beggar in an unprovoked attack until passersby intervened. Netizens have since uncovered the assailant’s identity.
The viral video of the unprovoked beating appeared on Weibo Friday afternoon.
A Southeast China Times reporter spoke with the original poster of the video, who told him that he had been walking past the entrance of a shopping center when he noticed a giant crowd of people. Upon further inspection, he saw a man, who appeared to be in his twenties, beating an old beggar. The crowd tried to dissuade the assailant from further beatings, but to no avail. So the OP called the police, after which he took a video of the beating as evidence.
In the short clip, the assailant can be seen chasing the old man up a short flight of stairs and delivering a flying kick, sending the old man crashing into a corner of the building entrance.
The reporter also interviewed a nearby worker named Mr. Chen who says he saw the incident from the beginning. Mr. Chen says he saw a young man wearing a baseball cap suddenly begin to kick an old beggar without provocation. He continued to kick the old man until he fell over on the stairs. When the old man attempted to get away, the assailant would grab the victim’s clothes and begin the beatings anew. The beatings persisted for about 10 minutes, until an onlooker grabbed the assailant and gave the victim an opportunity to escape.
Mr. Chen says that judging from the assailant’s bruised arms, it looked as if the young man had been in fights recently. The attack against the old man could have been a way for the assailant to let off steam on an easy target.
The reporter caught up with the old beggar, who corroborated Mr. Chen’s story, saying the attack was both unprovoked and unexpected. The old man says that he hadn’t even asked the assailant for money or talked to him before.
The victim and the alleged attacker, as identified by web users
Originally a Henan farmer, the 73-year-old beggar named Ma Fa says he was driven from his home to beg on the streets after a serious drought claimed his crops. He resorted to begging on city streets to help support his family.
Enraged netizens have since uncovered the assailant’s identity: Zhang Xiaowei, a 24-year-old student of Zhejiang Industry University. They have also begun to publicly posting his address and name on Weibo.
By Lucy Wang