10 arrested in bust of fake beggar syndicate operating in Sanlitun, Beijing

By Zoey Zha, February 3, 2015

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On January 24, Beijing police busted a group of phony beggars pretending to be severely ill so as to scam money from pedestrians in the bustling Sanlitun area.

After reports came in about dodgy panhandlers in the popular downtown hub, cops conducted a clandestine operation to collect evidence, soon figuring out that the leaders of the gang were a man surnamed Wang, 64, and a woman surnamed Li, 46.

Wang and Li made rounds between the different groups of beggars, collecting their earnings, which consisted of coins, and exchanging them for bills in nearby shops. Meanwhile, their subordinates, generally around 60 years old, were divided into three separate couples to “work” at different spots.

Wang and Li took care of everything from accommodation to scheming, and kept this group in organization.

Every member was assigned with specific task. They set off from their temporary lodgings at 7am every morning, and returned after a day's work at 10pm. Wang collected all their earnings, which he to cover their daily expenses and then give out a monthly payment of about RMB200-300 each.

CCTV News also managed to catch the fake beggars performing on camera.

While one half of the couple kept bowing to pedestrians, the other lay on the ground under a thick blanket, seemingly suffering from some severe ailment. They accepted food and money, but adamantly rejected offers to help them get medical attention. After shifts lasting several hours, the two switched roles and continued

According to police in Chaoyang District, the gang of 10 are all in detention and awaiting further investigation.

[Images via STNN]

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