Quirky China: Unconscious man 'wakes' for curry, women-only carriages 'unfair to men', manhole covers stolen and sold to get hostess cash

A handout photo. A man in China pretended to be in a coma to resist arrest, until he could no longer stand the sumptuous smell of beef curry. Also, a debate about women-only rail carriages, and a man steals 500 manhole covers.
PHOTO: South China Morning Post

A police suspect who pretended to be unconscious for three days and endured a series of medical tests eventually “woke up” because he could not resist the smell of beef curry.

The man was arrested by police in Xiaogan of Hubei earlier this month on suspicion of fraud, local police said on WeChat.

To avoid investigation, he pretended to faint. Police officers tried to wake him up but were unable to rouse the man, so they sent him to hospital believing he was ill.

Doctors tried various methods to “wake him up” including pressing on pressure points, inserting a catheter, and electrocardiogram, but he still managed to maintain his fake coma.

On the fourth day the man finally woke up when he smelt the beef curry a police officer was eating by his bedside.

“Upon opening the lunchbox, the dish’s strong smell spread all over the room,” said the officer in a video clip posted on WeChat. “Then he started moving his head and slowly got up.”

The suspect admitted that it was the food that prompted him to give up the ruse. “I have been fainting for three days and I am clearly aware that since I haven’t eaten for three days, I am hungry,” he said in the video.

Debate after transport authority rejects women-only rail carriage idea

The Chongqing transport authority has triggered a heated online discussion after rejecting a proposal for a designated subway carriage for female passengers.

The suggestion was made by a local resident who asked for women-only carriages during peak commute times.

The department replied it would not consider the plan at the moment, it said in a post on Weibo last week.

“Although some countries adopt this measure of allocating carriages for female passengers only, it remains largely controversial,” the authority said.


The reason given for the rejection was that a women-only carriage is discriminatory towards male passengers, and will put psychological pressure on female passengers in mixed-sex carriages.

“The third reason is that it repels males from using public resources in an equal way. It would cause inconveniences in subways during rush hours,” the post continued to say.

The resident who made the suggestion said she came up with the idea after she saw a woman in a carriage of subway Line 3 suddenly scream and accuse a man beside her of groping her.

The man ran away when the woman shouted she would ask the subway company to check surveillance footage.

Internet users are divided over the Chongqing authority’s decision, with some people supportive but with others condemning it as “not humane”.

“It’s fine that you do not set up a female carriage, but please raise the legal cost for sexual harassment in public places, OK?” wrote a person on Weibo.

Man stole more than 500 manhole covers to sell and give cash to online hostesses

A man has been detained for stealing more than 500 manhole covers to sell so he could give cash rewards to online game hostesses.

Police in Nanjing, Jiangsu, said they had detained the suspect, surnamed Fan, for stealing the manhole covers since March and earning 40,000 yuan (S$8,400) selling them, reported Jiangsu TV.

Another man with the surname Zheng was also arrested for buying the manhole covers.

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Police found Fan, a construction worker, often driving a minivan to park near his construction site to steal the covers in the early morning. At first he told officers he picked up the manhole covers on the roadside.

He used most of the income from selling them to reward hostesses on online game platforms, with one hostess receiving 8,000 yuan, police said.

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.

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