A 79-year-old grandmother who has spent almost all of her life begging at a Chinese train station has been expelled by the railway authorities after it was discovered that she is the richest beggar in that country.
According to Shanghaiist, the old crook who spent most of her time begging at a train station in Hangzhou, China, was recently busted as a relatively rich pensioner who lives in a 5-storey villa and owns several retail stores and rental properties in the city.
The story of the richest Chinese beggar came to light and national news headlines after staff at Hangzhou’s East Railway Station started broadcasting an unusual message from loudspeakers warning passers-by not to fall for the woman’s story because she is not what she appears to be.
“An elderly woman in the station uses her age to win sympathy. Her family’s financial situation is quite good, so please don’t fall for it,” the announcement warns.
When her family members were traced as part of investigations, the woman’s son who did not support her vocation, told reporters that their family is considerably wealthier than the average family in China.
It was discovered that the family lives in a lavish villa, own several properties, some of which they rent to local business, and the son himself manages a family factory.
The man added that he has told his mother several times to stop begging but she refuses to listen.
“I told her that it’s fine if she doesn’t care about her reputation, but we do,” the son began.
“I serve her delicious meals every day but she just insists on going out to beg. In terms of money, she is a lot richer than most of the people here. She has savings in a few banks around here.”
According to the report, the woman started off by selling maps at the railway station, but the management there disapproved of her little side hustle, so she started begging instead.
She arrives there every morning at around 10 am and doesn’t leave until 8 pm. According to some sources, she makes around 300 yuan per day.
In an attempt to discourage her from going out to beg, her son distributed photos of her on social media, telling people not to give her money if they see her but that apparently didn’t work as she continued begging.
The woman’s story has, however, sparked a heated debate online. While some people condemn her from deceiving poorer people to scam them out of money she doesn’t really need, other claimed that her behaviour must be motivated by loneliness and boredom, and blamed the son for not spending enough time with her.