A total of 10 people were arrested for operating a “begging racket” out of downtown Beijing, specifically the popular bar area Sanlitun.
The members, all over 60 years old, collected money from passersby by pretending to be ill, CCTV News said, citing police. Officers were tipped off by two beggars who roamed Sanlitun pretending to be either ill or desperate for money to buy food. When pedestrians offered to contact a hospital, they were rejected. Police noted, however, that the two beggars often swapped roles depending on the day.
Two suspects, a man surnamed Wang and a woman surnamed Li, were arrested on suspicion of running the operation. The duo later pleaded guilty, and told police that they had mapped out ‘ideal routes’ for begging.
The other eight members of the group would give their daily earnings to Wang, who paid them a measly monthly wage of 200 to 300 yuan.
Images of a beggar in Zhejiang province who claimed to be paraplegic but was spotted standing up to catch a bus had web users fuming last December. Fake beggars can earn up to 10,000 yuan a month in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, China Daily previously reported. In May last year, a man was actually photographed seeking “beggar workers” on the streets of Sichuan, claiming to have previously taken a course on “professional begging” in Shanghai.