Insurance scams are unforunately common in the good ol' US of A, but over in China there's a hilarious extrortion trend called "pengci," which literally translates to "touch porcelain." The jist of it is: people will fake being hit by a car in order to shame drivers into handing over money to avoid more serious prosecution. A hilarious video unearthed by Jezebel shows a particularly comical example of the con:
Watch this lady pop up from under the hood of the car to see if the driver even noticed she had fallen over — and then "fall" back down again.
Pengci has some historical roots. According to NPR: "During the Qing Dynasty, a person — usually from a formerly wealthy family — would dress as a nobleman, position himself in a crowded public place holding expensive-looking china (usually fake) and let others 'hit' him, causing him to drop the china. He'd then demand compensation." NPR also notes that the invention of dash cameras on cars has made the crime harder to commit.
Here are some less incompetent examples of pengci in action:
A report from The Guardian suggests that things like pengci are weighing heavily on the morale of the entire nation, discouraging good samaritans from helping actual people in need: "Commentators have blamed declining morals, high healthcare costs and inadequate laws for the scandals, warning that many people are now too scared to aid strangers for fear they will end up paying compensation or hospital fees ... Fewer than 7% of 20,000 respondents in an online survey by Hong Kong-based Phoenix Television said they would stop while driving to offer help. More than 45% said they would turn a blind eye and 43% said they would help only if there was a camera."
Good thing nothing like this would ever happen in America, right?
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