Lucky escape for Chinese building worker after resident ‘cuts support rope’

Suspect was reported to have argued with worker who was removing banners from the side of a building

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 31 December, 2017, 4:35pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 31 December, 2017, 7:56pm

A man from southern China has been arrested for allegedly cutting a rope used to support a maintenance worker at a block of flats, according to local media reports.

The worker was removing banners from various floors of the block in Sanya on the island of Hainan on Thursday.

He was standing on a balcony on the first floor when the rope was cut.

Police said the worker had managed to stay on the balcony and had not suffered any injuries.

A property owner living in the block was arrested and could be charged with assault, news website hinews.cn reported on Saturday.

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The man, who was around 60 years old, was filmed sitting on a sofa in front of a television when police investigators entered the flat, in a video released by an anonymous source on the internet.

His wife was seen arguing with police as he was taken away.

Police later found a knife that was allegedly used to cut the rope in the man’s flat.

However, a local law enforcement officer muddied the waters by telling the worker to feign injury, a deception that prompted initial reports that the worker had fallen 10 metres and needed hospital treatment.

The law enforcement officer was given a 500 yuan (US$76) fine and detained for 10 days for asking the worker to lie on the pavement while he took a photograph of the “injured” man which was widely circulated online.

Police said the officer wanted to get the attention of his own superiors and was trying to ensure the property owner faced a heavier punishment.

One witness said the building had many advertising banners hanging over its facade and from balconies.

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The worker was sent by the property management to remove the banners because they had been deemed illegal by the authorities.

Another witness said the property owner and building worker had been arguing before the incident.

The owner had brandished a kitchen knife and threatened to cut the rope because the worker had “disturbed his rest”.

Police said the cause of the dispute required further investigation.