Crime and Beggars in Shanghai

I feel guilty that I have promised Maria to answer her questions about critical issues of living and working in Shanghai as a foreigner Shanghai.

Hello, yeah sure i will explain what i mean with critical issues, i mean things like crime in the city and security issues, official days of holidays per year in shanghai, the oppeness from the local people toward foreigners and things like that. thankyou very much for taking the time to answer me and giving all this information.

By Maria

My frequent commentor Nick also posted just now and asked about crime situation in Shanghai.

Would you be able to comment on crime in the city? I read alot its bad in Shanghai. However I always feel very safe. Compared to America it is probably very safe so the perspective is different.

By Nick

Well. It seems to be a topic that most people, especially expats, are concerning regarding Shanghai. Let me share my experience.

Shanghai is Safe

I don’t have the exact number such as crime rate to support my statement, but Shanghai is regarded as one of the safest city in China. You can easily find girls walking alone on the street as late as 1:00 AM or even later. It is one of the indicator of the crime level of the city – I heard from my friends in Taipei that if a girl works late in Taipei, she will perfer to say in office for the whole night instead of taking the risk to go back home alone.


Beggars are the problem of most cities. In Shanghai, it is even worse. The most troublesome aspect of the begger problem in Shanghai is the false beggars – the group who pretend to lost job, to have no money for trip back home or no money for schools. Some even pretend to be disabled persons. Although there are still relatively low ratio of thus cases, but it really provide enough reasons for people to offer help.

I suggest to keep some coin and help the beggars, even though the problem to do so is to attract more beggers than you can afford… :-D

Here is a very intersting thread on In it, I noticed parkerfairfield‘s four simple rules for beggars.

I’ve 4 simple rules:

a) get in my way, I’ll walk OVER you . No, I won’t stomp on you, but I will not stop. I’ll keep walking. (And DON’T hold a hand out with money in it – i’ll take it…. and the aggressive as*es with a cup get the joy of picking up their change as I walk away.)

b) I’ll ONLY buy food for the ones that obviously need it. 99% of this group consists of babies/toddlers.

c) Money only is given to anyone not feeling sorry (read ‘begging’) for themself. E.g., playing music, humming, selling something (whether I WANT it or not). Other people can suck rocks.

d) I ALWAYS take whatever food was not consumed at any restaurant I’ve just eaten at, and try to find homeless to give it to … and if I can’t find someone, I leave it on top of a garbage can

Top Commenter of the Month

As always, I am going to announce the Top Commenters of the Month award for this website. The Top Commenter of the Month Award for July, 2003 goes to:

Nick 6

Kme 5

Yoda 4

Johnny 4

Gary Soup 4

Euthenics 4

Top 10 List

(Actually Top 18 since there are 10 persons posting 3 comments)

Jian Shuo Wang 87

Nick 6

Kme 5

Yoda 4

Johnny 4

Gary Soup 4

Euthenics 4

clerc 4

wufui wang 3

tatox 3

setiadis 3

pissed off 3

ace 3

Lo Yuk Fai 3

Kim 3


Ginn 3

Chris Mikeson 3


In July, 202 visitors contributed 354 comments to this website.

In June, 117 visitors contributed 216 comments to this website.

In May 2003, 175 visitors contributed 453 comments to this website.

In April 2003, 157 persons (distinguished by display name) posted 437 comments.

In the first 5 months of this blog (Sept 11, 2002 to March 31, 2003), 216 persons (distinguished by display name) posted 478 comments.

30 thoughts on “Crime and Beggars in Shanghai

  1. The problem of the beggars in the city has existed for a long time and it seems everywhere, especially in the downtown area. Last night, I saw two beggars bent down on their knees with a paper and some coins in front of them on Huai Hai road. It seems a model for most beggars. A paper with something writing on it and some coins and behind these is a pair of eyes thirst for something. What surprised me most was the two beggars kowtowing to the passers-by simultaneously and continuously. It seemed few people would stop by and gave some money. But I am sure there was someone would be GENEROUS. They were not fools. My opinion towards the beggars in the city is fully negative. I’m not ruthless. In fact, many beggars are too disabled to work. But many tricks have been exposed again and again. They are only too lazy to work. Some adults from the rural area even forced their kid to beg. Last time when I was around the oriental pearl tower. I saw two kids running towards me asking me to give the ice cream in my hand to them and even wanna grab my mostly consumed ice-cream. I really don’t know how to say. There must be somebody behind to control them. The kids are poor and the controllers are cursed. I think they really destroy the beautiful scene of such a city. Maybe u will be considered generous in front of your boy or girl friend if u toss some coins to them. Things will get worse and there will be more and more beggars or fake beggars on the road. It’s better to set up a social security system to help the disables live and lazy labor work.

  2. JSW thanks for the comments on crime. I agree I see women and kids late at night walking with no problems.

    I agree with Anya’s comments on the beggars. They ruin the enjoyment on the city. They will come up to the taxi door before you get out and follow you. I have had them even try to stick their hands in my pockets to get money.

    I have no problem being generous but they are never satisfied and it attracts more beggars. I also agree I hate the ones who drag their kids out even to 4 am in the rain running after people for money.

    I have even had some be disatisfied with the amount of money I gave them! I give credit to the shanghai police normally it is not that severe and the police are good at keeping it under control. I noticed on my last trip that because of the heat the police stayed in their car and did not clear them out as normal. They would drive up everyone would scatter but they would come right back. I think the most problem area is mao ming lu and on nanjin road. I rarely see any on hengshan Lu and never at Xinitandi.

    The local owners of pubs etc are just as upset I had two times where they came out and hit beggars with newspapers for bothering the customers.

    I was at the railroad station maybe 1000 people waiting for trains and this little girl well dressed went up and down the rows with a basket collecting money. This girl must be rich! Even my out of work girlfriend gave her money!

    Couple beggars with the agressive flower selling kids and it gets a headache. Well at least you get a flower they have some ethics.

  3. Something special about beggars: they offer us the opportunity to be kindly, and the opportunity to be giving. I think you can feel a personal transformation, too, when giving to beggars. That’s so nice how you suggest keeping coins in the pocket to help them :-)

  4. I am going to Shanghai in a few weeks for a student exchange and I have found these posts to be somewhat enlightening. Many thanks.

  5. Hi!

    I just came on 20 march to shanghai for holiday. Just found your site and it is great!

    Will like to share an incident that happened to me the other day. Was walking along area around Xiang Yang when vendors approached me to ask me to go to their shop. I said no and carried out walking and the vendor pursued me, constantly pestering me and showing me the name card and asking me to go to their shop. I was hassled for about 50 metres and finally she gave up.

    However, later I found out the real scam. She had pickpocketed me. Luckily, she could only take my nokia battery which was kept on a travel bag. I realised then that this was similar to the gypsy children in Italy. They asked for money with a placard and underneath the placard was the real sleigh of hand.

    The Next time vendors approach me, I know what to expect. I hope your readers will too.

  6. please, guide me

    I will be in Shanghai in Nov.04 at the int.fair .I’m gonna stay in an int. hotel(5*)but no idea about the city life. I’ll be on my own for 10 days in Shanghai. My concerns are ;

    -) how can I get a girl to my hotel room ?, from where, offer what,staying period,performance,,,

    -) Bars and pubs in Shanghai !. I have no idea at all.,,,,,,

    -) Shall I stick on a bell-boy of the hotel that I stay as a guide ?

    Need help from all the experienced people of Shanghai life.

  7. Tur,

    By looking at your tone, you must be the first time visitor to Shanghai. There were two guys from Hong Kong brought their girl friends to the room and each received six months and three weeks courtesy from the local police, and they posted their picture on the web, do you wish us to see your face on the web.


  8. Hi Tur

    I guess you don’t bring your own, so if you dare, go to Julu Lu (pronounced Ji-lu-lu).

    Bring protection (I don’t mean a gun, of course)

  9. I’m sure that I won’t give them food or money. It is not because I am very mean or I hate beggers. Just because When I was a young child, I gave money to them for I think that they are very pity. However, to my surprise, they cheated me. From then on, I will try to get rid of them because they are not honest at all.

  10. mmm… just a comment about Taipei, as your friend mentioned… I have lived in Taipei for several years now and you can find girls walking late late at night on the street and they don’t encounter any danger at all. I’ve never heard of any girl being scared to go home late at night alone in this city, even more so if they have a scooter. I have a feeling that what your friend told you is the exception because it is definitely not the norm. Taipei is almost mystifyingly safe, that is I don’t know how the news gets enough crime stories each day to fill the evening news…

  11. I gave 20RMB to a beggar outside the bus station once.

    Only, this beggar was a 16-year-old girl, and she was on her knees in public. She wasn’t bad-looking at all. I felt that I got my money’s worth. :)

  12. I ask a friend to check how much a beggar earned a day to a beggar one evening while sitting in front of a bar in Hongsong Lu.

    We sit on a balmy autumn night as the bar set few table outside. A beggar approach us and pestering us with his bowl.

    My friend told me afterward that the beggar came from a province outside Shanghai and he earned a day on average about Rmb 70 ~ Rmb 100. I was surprised and understand that is probably why so many beggars now in Shanghai. He earned more than my Ayi, my driver if he hit the Rmb 100 a day.

    No wonder he had that Chinese expensive cgarttes on his shirt pocket..

    The moral, dont give to beggar if you feel compel to donate go to the proper Social organisation. They are listed in the local English magazines or check with your expatriate friends or local folksin the office.

    There are so many people who are in real dire strait situation and not begging.

  13. I think this is everywhere, you just can’t avoid seeing it.

    With the rapid development of China’s economy, certainly some problems arise, such as disparity, environmental problems, prostitute (sex industry). I do think that’s the kind of problems all countries will encounter during their periods of economic growth, including a lot of western industrialized countries. The important thing is that we must understand these problems and find appropriate ways to solve them.

  14. Last saturday afternoon, I was at Zhangjiang Hi-tech Park Zone with my bf as he works for ZTE. During our walk, one family suddently showed up and scared me. They looked poor with worn-out clothes from the first sight, I was pretending not to hear anything as that woman kept calling me. My bf seemed to wonder and asked me whats going on, afterwards I turned back to her and ask if sth I could help. That kid’s father immediately asked me to buy a 5-yuan-box-meal for his little gal as he said his daughter would die of hunger. I made my glance at this gal. To my great shock,she looked very energetic. When I attempt to get rid of them,the kid’s mother showed her expression of anger to me while calling me “bitch”. aih…how rediculous!!!!!

  15. Has any person experienced the singing beggar duo (sometimes trio) on subways in Shanghai? Over the past year, I had seen and hear their various comical renditions of “我爱天安门” (I love Tiananmen), “东方之珠” (Pearl of the Orient), etc. on subway cars with their portable hand-made karaoke backpack on hand while travelling on Beijing’s Subway Line 2. It’s only recently that the subway security had put a tight clampdown on this “onboard pay-per-view entertainment”.

    Sidenote: Katze, you’re considered lucky. The little beggar girl who tailed me in Kunming wouldn’t let go of my right leg for a good 3 city blocks!

  16. The only scam I’ve come accross in Shanghai is a guy pretending to be an English teacher. He stands in peoples square. He talks to westerners and asks them if they would like to join him for a coffee, so he can practice his English. If you are stupid enough to go with him he takes you to a coffee shop above a beijing olimpics shop, then he has a little bite to eat, (a plate of fruit) when the bill comes you are expected to pay, about 300 yuan. I can’t belive I was such a twat! Thankfully I didn’t pay it all, but it still pissed me off.

  17. I also had a guy come up to me in Shanghai near People’s Square, dressed in a suit, and wanting to get coffee and practice his English. He was very pushy. Based on Dan’s story, good thing I declined.

  18. ga… i just returned from shanghai, and yes, there are so many beggars. it kinda dampened my days a little because i felt so sad for them. especially little old ladies. my heart just goes out to them. but there are so many of them and i can’t help them all so i end up feeling sad for the whole day!

    also, yes, be careful in shanghai of the ppl who would cheat your money. i am a young girl, alone in shanghai the past few days, and i took good care of myself, i think. always take care of your personal belongings. always put your bag in front of you in crowded places, and if your bag has a zip or something, do hold on to the zip so that nobody else can have a chance to pickpocket your stuffs.

    shanghai is okay. rather safe maybe. i think, most of them only wants to cheat your money and nothing more. i got cheated myself of money…ahh. of 80RMB just for a short 20mins ride back to my hotel! T^T i was really cold and tired, and maybe a little afraid. and i gave the driver all he asked for without saying anything. now i feel really down. but i thought to myself maybe that money can let him have a good meal that day!

  19. I got scammed by two pretty girls today at People’s Park. While taking some pictures, I was approached by 2 girls, one of them ask me something in Chinese, I told them in english that I dont speak chinese. They told me that I look like chinese. So we talked & later they invited me to have a chat at a tea house, I agree & followed them. They ordered chinese tea and when I look at the menu it is only RMB 48. After finished then came the bill & it was RMB 480. They asked me to pay, I dont bring much money so I pay with credit card. Then they asked me to follow them to a KTV, they just ordered 3 cans of coke. After a while they try to seduced me, asking to make love with them, one of the girls sat on my lap, try to block me from the door & I noticed the waiter come inside the room a few times, half an hour later i said i want to go home then the bill came & it was RMB 9,998 after 10% discount. Then I noticed the table are full of empty cups, maybe around 50 of them. I said i dont have that much of money to pay, the man asked me to pay with credit card, they caharge me twice, I dont want to argue because I am afraid of my safety, lucky I have enough cerdit to cover the bill. The first attempt is successful with RMB 5000, the 2nd one have difficulty to charge, they try a few times & it was successfull. After I reached home I called my credit card bank & report that my card was stolen & they immediately cancel the card, they told me that there are a few charges made, lucky the payment still pending. I feel so damn stupid today. Lucky I paid with credit card, if with cash I already lost more than RMB 10,000.

  20. You have small grounds all over the world, you have grounds where bowlers have to bowl at road-like surfaces, you have batsmen that have heavier, bigger and more powerful bats then ever before, all of this gives the batsmen an advantage. I could well argue how much of this sounds very, very unfair to me, but that’s not the point.

  21. you people are heartless……..people who beg are obviously not rich and they obviously need the money. they get down on their hands and knees to get money because they have children to raise and mouths to feed.

    they are not lazy or to stupid to get work, this is their work and it is the way that they have to get money.

    yes, i concede that there may be some fake beggars but overall the poor people in China are EXTREMELY POOR.

    i myself have gone to china numerous times and i have to say that the kids who beg ARE SAD and ARE HUNGRY. they are not controlled, they know that they need to beg to get even the tiniest bit of food, just like rich children know that they need to go to the cupboard to get something to eat.

    You people are heartless and clearly have no sympathy at all.

  22. I had the worst experience in my life on nanjing street, Shanghai. I and my friend from UK went to Nanjing street for shopping. While shopping a street guy came and offered us to take to a place for massage. We accepted his offer for 15 usd per hour (about 100 rmb). We went to the place on 3rd floor on the street facing Chow Tai Fook jewelery. Inside was like a KTV and we ordered beers. In the meantime, the a line of girls came for selection. We selected two girls for massage and immediately they insisted us to take special service. In the meantime, with our beers came 2 more glasses of Whisky. We questioned that and told 40 rmb per glass for girls. We didn’t like it but accepted. After a couple of minutes, the waiter came with another 2 beers and 4 glasses of Whisky without ordering. We objected and wanted to leave immediately, but suddenly 3 Chinese guys came in and said we can’t leave without paying the bill. We said is ok and then appeared a bill of 29000 CNY!!! Then started the real problem, they forced us to pay under death threat and rushed out. On the ground floor, we requested the people to call the police but all just turned deaf ear. Never in my life we are going there. How people can turn into animals and extortionists? Someone please arrest these people and make the place more secure.

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