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January 17, 2012

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Home » Metro » Public Services

Metro chiefs stumped by beggars

METRO officials have admitted they are at a loss over how to stop beggars on city subway lines.

Despite frequent crackdowns with police the problem remains, said officials, claiming that deterrents were inadequate.

Beggars would frequently return days after being caught, having faced no penalty, simply "education".

Police records show one man has been caught begging more than 200 times on the subway, said officials.

Beggars can spend all day on a train, going up and down the carriages, sometimes accompanied by their children.

But police and the operator can do little, as no penalty can be imposed except sending beggars to city shelters, said officials.

Last year, police caught more than 11,700 people breaking regulations on Metro lines, of whom 8,130 were beggars. Officers sent 3,632 beggars to shelters.

But going to shelters is voluntary, and few beggars want to be there. Many simply leave and return to begging.

Shanghai has about 20 homeless centers providing free food, accommodation, hot baths and medical care, said the social welfare division of the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau.

"In some cases, when we take teenage beggars to shelters, their parents are waiting outside," said a police officer. "We have to give them their kids and watch them return to begging."

Disrupting services

Meanwhile, incidents of skateboards and folding bikes falling on to Metro tracks disrupting services are increasing, Shanghai Metro management said.

The operator is telling people to stop riding skateboards and foldaway bicycles in the subway - including platforms.

"Skateboarding and riding bikes threatens public safety and is prohibited," Shao Weizhong, an official with Shanghai Shentong Group, said yesterday.

Officials said this happens most frequently along Metro Line 2, and skateboarders included foreigners.


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