Chinese tramp ‘holds up’ cars with feather duster to demand money to buy drink

Beggar’s unusual strategy for raising cash to buy alcohol captured on film

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 April, 2018, 3:03pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 April, 2018, 3:48pm

A man brandishing a feather duster who ran out in front of cars in a southern Chinese city has been detained by police, according to a news website.

The man, who has not been named, was filmed running in front of cars in Dongguan, Guangdong province, and standing in front of them and demanding money from the drivers before he would let them pass, according to the news portal Thepaper.cn.

Police said the homeless man was drunk at the time of his arrest and had been asking drivers for money to buy alcohol.

He was detained on Wednesday after a police officer who works in the area saw video footage that had been posted on WeChat on Monday, and decided to track him down with colleagues.

In one video, the man who is wearing a cap, is seen placing his hands on the bonnet of a moving car, forcing it to stop. He also “dusts” another car and then squats down in front of it. In at least one incident a driver is seen apparently giving him money.

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Following the detention of the man, police expressed raised concern about whether this could be the latest form of the scam known as pengci, which literally means “porcelain bumping”.

It describes the phenomenon when scammers rush out in front of cars and fake injuries to blackmail the drivers and demand money as compensation.

Many such incidents have been recorded and the increasing popularity of dashboard cameras mean scores of these scams have been captured on video.

But police were unsure if the man was trying to do this or whether he was just begging in the more traditional sense.

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“He appeared to be in a drunken state when we found him, he’s still being detained in the police office but he was not really conscious until now,” a police officer surnamed Mou said.

“When we ask him questions, he sometimes answers, sometimes does not, so we are trying to find drivers who were affected by him to come and give us information about the case.”

He added that the man has no place to live and was asking for money to buy alcohol.

Police are still investigating the case.