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Leniency on aged blackmailers hurts social trust

Updated: 2015-10-31 08:02
By Xia Hongbin (China Daily)

Leniency on aged blackmailers hurts social trust

An aged person in Southwest China's Chongqing municipality reported to police that a car knocked him down at a crossroad recently. Yet some witnesses said the senior citizen fell down himself and called him a blackmailer. Later closed-circuit TV footage showed the senior citizen was indeed hit by the car but escaped serious injury only because it was not traveling at great speed.

The unusual reaction of the witnesses shows that people have become prejudiced toward senior citizens involved in accidents because of the tricks employed by a few of their contemporaries to extort money from drivers.

Their impression is influenced by media reports that some senior citizens pretend to be hit by vehicles to extort money from the drivers while others collapse to the ground to blackmail unsuspecting good Samaritans into paying them money or facing legal charges for knocking them down.

Statistics released by People's Daily show the media reported 149 cases involving aged people from January to October. After investigating 120 of the 149 cases, police found that 84 were efforts by senior citizens to blackmail drivers or pedestrians.

The immorality of a limited number of senior citizens has broken social trust and forced many to turn a blind eye to the suffering of aged people for fear of being blackmailed.

Some insurance companies even created a new insurance policy earlier this month, around Chongyang Festival for senior citizens, to pay people who buy insurance for about 3 yuan ($0.5) a year up to 20,000 yuan in litigation costs to fight blackmailing cases against senior citizens.

The growing distrust against senior citizens is a disturbing trend especially because senior citizens account for about 20 percent of the population in many urban areas of China.

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