A shocking report illustrates a serious problem in China: when pedestrians are hit by cars across the country, many of them don’t live through the experience.
This is intentional.
According to a report from Slate, some people are running over pedestrians multiple times to make sure they’re dead.
Slate recounts a story about a BMW driver running over a 2-year-old girl multiple times:
“Stop! You’ve hit a child,” the girl’s grandmother exclaimed.
However, the BMW backed over the child again in response—and then a third time, apparently to make sure the girl was dead.
The driver left the vehicle and tried to make a deal with the family members:
“Don’t say that I was driving the car,” the driver said.
“Say it was my husband. We can give you money.”
The report said that Chinese media is filled with similar reports, and it’s referred to a “double-hit,” meaning that drivers purposefully roll back over a victim to ensure death.
So why is this happening?
Chinese law makes it cheaper to actually kill a person with a car than to injure them. When someone is killed, the accused pays a series of fees that amounts to approximately $30,000. But if they injure someone, the law indicates the victim has to be taken care of for life, which can cost millions.
“If I hit someone, I’ll hit him again and make sure he’s dead,” one man told Slate in explaining his reasoning. “Only have to pay once, like a burial fee.”
Slate elaborates further:
“The Chinese press recently described how one disabled man received about $400,000 for the first 23 years of his care. Drivers who decide to hit-and-kill do so because killing is far more economical. Indeed, Zhao Xiao Cheng—the man caught on a security camera video driving over a grandmother five times—ended up paying only about $70,000 in compensation.”
As the report notes, getting out of murder charges is also pretty easy in China. Drivers are confident they can bribe local officials or hire a lawyer to get out of murder charges.
And here’s the probably the worst “double-hit” case, as reported in the media:
In Sichuan province, an enormous, dirt-encrusted truck knocked down a 2-year-old boy. The toddler was only dazed by the initial blow, and immediately climbed to his feet. Eyewitnesses said that the boy went to fetch his umbrella, which had been thrown across the street by the impact, when the truck reversed and crushed him, this time killing him.
Despite the eyewitness testimony, the county chief of police declared that the truck had never reversed, never hit the boy a second time, and that the wheels never rolled over the child. Meanwhile, one outraged website posted photographs appearing to show the child’s body under the truck’s front wheel.
In a recent incident, CCTV footage showed a woman repeatedly running over an elderly man who had fallen in the snow. And in May, a truck driver was caught running over a young boy four times, according to News Ltd.
Road safety remains a major issue in China. State-run Xinhua, a Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece, reported that in 2012, poorly maintained roads and bad driving habits resulted in 70,000 deaths and 300,000 injuries each year.
In an environment as chaotic as this, many motorists believe they can get away with murder.