A 79-year-old who spent most of her time begging at a train station in Hangzhou, China, was recently ousted as a relatively rich pensioner who lives in a 5-storey villa and owns several retail stores and rental properties in the city.
The woman’s story made national news headlines last week, after staff at Hangzhou’s East Railway Station started broadcasting an unusual message from loudspeakers warning passers-by not to fall for the granny’s story because she is not what she appears to be. In a surprising turn of events, even the woman’s son told reporters that their family is considerably wealthier than the average family in China. They live in a lavish villa, own several properties, some of which they rent to local business, and he himself manages a family factory. The man added that he told his mother to stop begging numerous times, but she refuses to listen.
“I told her that it’s fine if she doesn’t care about her reputation, but we do,” the son said. “I serve her delicious meals every day, but she just insists on going out to beg. In terms of money, she is a lot richer than most of the people here. She has savings in a few banks around here.”
The 79-year-old woman reportedly started off by selling maps at the railway station, but the management there disapproved of her little side hustle, so she started begging instead. She arrives there every morning at around 10 am and doesn’t leave until 8 in the evening. According to some sources, she makes around 300 yuan (about $43 USD) per day.
Shanghaiist reports that the woman claimed that she simply doesn’t want to sit at home all day and resorts to begging in order to make enough money to hire a caretaker for herself when she gets older.