Recently a down-on-his-luck foreigner has been spotted camped out at the Guangzhou East Railway Station, begging for money from strangers to buy a train ticket; however, station staff say that it is all just a scam, and the backpacker has been there for weeks, taking in 1,000 yuan per day.
The 25-year-old Polish national reportedly calls himself “Victor.” He told local reporters that he had only arrived in Guangzhou last week and had quickly managed to spend the $500 he had saved up to backpack through Asia.
With nothing in his pockets, he has been forced to stop and fall back on the kindness of strangers in order to afford a train ticket to Kunming, where he says he will then continue on into Southeast Asia, according to Sina News. With zero Chinese skills, he has had to rely on a simple sign reading “Ticket to Kunming” to convey his message.
The slow train from Guangzhou to Kunming takes at least 24 hours and costs 192 yuan for a hard seat or 546 yuan if he wants to splurge on a soft sleeper.
However, staff at the Guangzhou East Railway Station are skeptical about the expat’s motives. One cleaner surnamed Zhang said that Victor has already made enough money to travel to Kunming and back several times over.
“Don’t believe anything he says, he’s been here for around ten days now,” Zhang said. “Foreigners are often generous with him, giving him 100 or 200 yuan, while Chinese just give him 10 or 20 yuan. In one day, he makes about 1,000 yuan.”
Meanwhile, a local police officer said that he had noticed Victor before going on vacation on October 10. However, even if Victor is running a lucrative scam, the Guangzhou police admit that there really isn’t much they can do since he’s not causing a public disturbance.
A local reporter confronted Victor about the allegations. The foreigner claimed that he had been begging for the past ten days, but was afraid that people would likely get angry if he tried to explain that. While he wouldn’t admit to how much money he was pulling in, Victor did concede that Guangzhou residents had been “very friendly.”
Victor told the reporter that he would soon be leaving for Kunming, but added to the mystery at the end by asking: “What percent of my story do you believe?”
Think that it’s safe to say that Victor and this Taiwanese guy wouldn’t exactly get along.
[Images via Sina]