Hotline a fresh step to assist city vagrants
SHANGHAI: The city government has launched a hotline number in a bid to
better assist Shanghai's vagrants.
And citizens are also being urged to
call so they can suggest ways that the nation's biggest city can tackle
Since Friday, people have been able to call 021-52901111 to
report any beggars or vagrants on the city's streets.
Once a call is
received, the Shanghai City Appearance and Environmental Sanitation Bureau will
get its district Urban Administration and Supervision Unit to send staff members
to the site.
"We can then see if they need the government's help or not.
If so, we will send them to the district aid station," said Wen Wenjie, an
official with the Zhabei District Urban Administration and Supervision
"If they are not willing to receive help, there is little we can
do. We cannot force them to an aid station."
People can get free food,
lodging and medical attention for 10 days after arriving at an aid station. They
are also offered a ticket free of charge for a train or bus back to their
Since January, Wen's team and colleagues from around the city
have had the added responsibility of attempting to get beggars to attend aid
stations, instead of roaming the streets.
"But almost all beggars prefer
to stay on the streets, where they can make money," he said.
Weiguang, a spokesman with the Shanghai City Appearance and Environmental
Sanitation Bureau, agreed, saying many people actually viewed begging as a way
to make good money and that they show no inclination of taking up regular
The city's press has reported about a begging "industry" that
revolves around children. Using handicapped kids, or even worse
disfiguring healthy children has become a profitable business.
have been lured away from their families and villages with promises of a "better
life" in a big city, but they end up falling prey to the ringleaders of beggar
or criminal groups.
Liu said the hotline aims to encourage people to help
the government resolve the issue, especially making the government better
informed about the number of beggars and their geographic