Tuesday, 02. September 2014
16. 05. 14. - 16:00
It beggars belief - but pan-handlers in China now attend schools to be taught how to scrounge.
The beggars get trained up by streetwise down and outs who have been on the make for years.
Recently this lonely beggar was pictured on a street in Dazhou city in China's Sichuan province with a sign saying he was "seeking an apprentice", and if possible, he would prefer a female to share the spot down the road.
Wang Fo, 46, a local social worker for a homeless charity, said: "It is true, he had a piece of paper alongside him saying that he was once a factory worker in Shanghai but is a professional beggar now.
"These guys go to beggar classes, if you can believe it. They get tips on how to look sad, how to make it look like they have lost limbs even if they are perfectly able, how to recite a perfect sob story to get people to part with their money.
"It is all just a scam. The sad part is that there is hardly anything in the way of a welfare safety net in China so these pros really are a problem. They take away public sympathy, and money, from people who really do need the help of others."
The down and out seeking an apprentice told local media: "I was told how to beg and I will tell my apprentice how to beg. Of course there is an art to it. You have to practice it like all things in life to become any good at it."
A police spokesman for the city said: "Professional beggars are on the rise. They are trained, organised and often quite rich because they tug at the heartstrings of kind people."
Asked about the sign the man who declined to be named defended the sign, saying: "I used to work in a factory that packed frozen chickens, it was hard work and rubbish pay, I earn much more like this for less hours, can you blame me?"
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