A Zhejiang court has cleared a driver of hitting and paralysing an elderly pedestrian after it ruled that the accident was a scam to win financial compensation that went badly wrong. The elderly man’s family demanded that the driver pay 1.2 million yuan (HK$1.51 million) in compensation after he was knocked over last October, resulting in him suffering full-body paralysis, state broadcaster CCTV reported on Sunday. The local court ruled that the elderly man staged the accident after reviewing footage of the incident captured on a video camera installed in the vehicle. The court said that the man was clearly anticipating the impact and adopted protective gestures before he was hit by the car. The video clip shows the elderly man walking across a busy road before running in front of the upcoming vehicle as it drew close, knocking him to the ground. The court did not hold the elderly man accountable for the scam despite its denial of compensation. The ruling has won overwhelming support online in China, with most posters agreeing that the driver was exempt from blame, highlighting public resentment over the scam more commonly known as peng cier in China. Watch: China's car accident scams caught on camera Literally translated as “breaking vase”, the ruse can purportedly be traced back to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), when swindlers would carry counterfeit antiques such as vases and pretend to accidentally bump into passersby. When a swindler then dropped the vase and it broke he would claim compensation. Over the years the ploy has evolved into staging traffic accidents, as personal vehicles became more widely owned in China. Scammers approach slowly driving vehicles and pretend to be hit by them, conning drivers into believing an accident has occurred. The scammers then fake injury and demand hefty compensation. The scams have frequently incited public uproar. Video clips uploaded online show footage taken by CCTV or vehicle-installed cameras of poorly-executed peng cier attempts that have elicited ridicule and calls for more rigorous punishments for scammers. Police have warned that drivers of luxury cars, those whose vehicles have non-local plates, and those who violate traffic regulations, are more prone to fall victim to a scam. A Tianjin scam ring busted last month targeted drivers who had just left restaurants and had possibly been drinking alcohol. The criminals would take advantage of the drivers’ reluctance of reporting to police, and persuaded them to pay compensation. Meanwhile, a 60-year-old Beijing man made 100,000 yuan in compensation by staging over 340 accidents at pedestrian crossings over the past nine years. Police have advised drivers to report possible scams and insist on a formal medical examination of pedestrian injuries at a hospital before negotiating compensation. They also urged the public to install video cameras and obey traffic regulations.