It’s the kind of story which sounds too crazy to be true – in China, drivers who have injured pedestrians will then purposely run over them again in order to kill them.
However, according to an article by Geoffrey Saint, this kind of behaviour is a worryingly regular occurrence in the country and security cameras have captured numerous examples of drivers doing just that.
The Chinese language even has an adage for the insane phenomenon – “It is better to hit to kill than to hit and injure”.
The reason for the horrific mantra is that, in China, if you hit somebody with your car and they live, you are liable for their health care bills for the rest of their lives, which can total millions. If you kill them, however, you are simply required to pay a one-off payment of around $30,000 to $50,000 (£20,000-£32,000).
It’s one of the grimmest loopholes we’ve ever heard of, which throws any ethical considerations out of the window. In his Slate article, Saint describes a horrific incident from April when a BMW speeding through a fruit market in Foshan knocked down a 2-year-old girl and rolled over her head.
Instead of checking if the toddler was okay, the woman behind the wheel simply switched the car into reverse and backed up over the girl, before driving forward to crush the girl for a third time. After the horrifying ordeal, the unlicensed driver simply said to the family, “Don’t say that I was driving the car. Say it was my husband. We can give you money”.
This isn’t an isolated incident, either. Saint describes a startling number of cases where drivers have killed people and got away with murder charges simply because they’ve claimed it was an accidental collision.
Hit-to-kill cases continue, and hit-to-kill drivers regularly escape serious punishment. In January a woman was caught on video repeatedly driving over an old man who had slipped in the snow. In April a school bus driver in Shuangcheng was accused of driving over a 5-year-old girl again and again. In May a security camera filmed a truck driver running over a young boy four times; the driver claimed that he had never noticed the child.
Security cameras have regularly captured drivers driving back and forth on top of victims to make sure that they are dead.
So, essentially, if you kill someone in China, you can literally get away with murder and you’ll pay out less money in compensation. It’s absolute madness!