Chinese police arrest 33 following investigation into traffic accident compensation racket
Gang members accused of breaking their own bones before ‘falling’ off motorbikes and demanding pay-offs
Police in southwest China have arrested 33 suspected members of a gang accused of faking more than 100 traffic accidents to extort compensation from hapless victims, local media reported.
The arrests were made earlier this month by police in Sichuan province, following a tip-off from a member of the public, who said that his father, a part-time motorcycle taxi rider, was tricked out of 12,000 yuan (US$1,900) in October, Chengdu Commercial Daily reported on Tuesday, citing a police statement.
On that occasion, the man, identified only by his surname Qi, was carrying two passengers who both fell off the motorbike as it negotiated a tricky intersection in Langzhong, a city in Sichuan. The “victims” were taken to hospital, where doctors and X-rays confirmed that one of them had broken an elbow.
The injured man’s friends, who had converged on the hospital, then demanded Qi pay compensation of 12,000 yuan, which he did.
While his son, also called Qi, was sceptical about the incident, it was not until he read about a similar scam online – which took place at exactly the same road junction – that he reported the matter to the police.
The motorcycle passenger in that case also suffered a broken elbow, the report said.
In the weeks and months that followed, Sichuan police, working with their colleagues in other provinces, discovered a string of scams that followed a similar pattern. Their efforts finally led them to the gang’s headquarters in Sichuan, and the arrests were made.
The newspaper report said the gang comprised 40 members, who operated in six groups across southwestern, southern and eastern China. It did not say how long the gang had been in operation or explain why only 33 people had been arrested, but said that four vehicles and tens of thousands of yuan had been seized.
One of the people arrested was quoted as saying he turned to crime after being unable to find a well paying factory job.
He said also that gang members would use tools to shatter their bones before staging the scams – each of which was worth up to 30,000 yuan – to ensure their success.