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Railway charity fund often cheated, abused
Updated: 2004-09-09 10:37

The staff of the Shanghai Railway Station are not sure whether to continue using an assistance fund established four years ago to help passengers with financial difficulties buy tickets, after most of those helped by the fund failed to pay back the money they borrowed.

Half of the 10,000 yuan (US$1,205) fund, which was set up with money donated by the staff, has been spent helping more than 20 people, said Wang Lushan, an official at the station.

"Usually we remind them to send the ticket fare back to us so the fund is able to assist more people who need help," Wang said. "But most of them didn't return the money as they promised, while some even cheated railway staffers to get help."

Wang said it is often hard to know for sure whether people asking for help really need it.

Several days ago, a young woman tried twice to jump from the window on the second floor of station's waiting room because she didn't have enough money to buy a ticket to return home to Henan Province.

The station's employees listened to her miserable story. She told them she was abducted at the age of 12 and sold to several people throughout the country.

However, when asked about details of the places where she was sold, the woman always gave an ambiguous reply or simply started crying loudly.

Despite their doubts, employees dipped into the fund to buy the woman a ticket home.

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