For the villagers, it was an opportunity too good to miss.
With Chinese New Year round the corner and oranges in demand, they could not believe their eyes.
A fruit lorry overturned in a highway crash near Lanzhou in northwestern China’s Gansu province on Saturday, spilling tonnes of oranges.
It was not known how the accident occurred or if the truck driver was injured in the crash.
The scene quickly turned into a free-for-all as villagers swarmed the site and picked up as many oranges as they could, reported Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post.
When the police arrived soon after, they tried to stop the looting, but they did not make much headway. They had to raise their guns while trying to stop villagers from carrying away their bulging sacks full of loot, and shouted at late-comers to back off.
One picture in a local newspaper showed an elderly woman frozen in mid-action holding a folded bag, while a police officer pointed a gun at her.
But right beside her, another woman with a plastic bag half full with oranges was apparently undeterred, looking back at the policeman in amusement.
In another picture, a sole police officer was seen standing on the highway and pointing his gun at a horde of villagers who were leaving with their loot using a dirt path near the highway.
Pictures published in local newspapers showed villagers busily sweeping loose oranges into their sacks beside a large pile of broken plastic crates, hay covers and crushed oranges.
Some netizens found the incident hilarious while others called the scene “ugly”, the Hong Kong newspaper reported.
“The harvest is based on the owner’s agony,” one netizen wrote.
Many Weibo users questioned why police officers would use their guns for such a trivial incident.
“I don’t see police officers use their guns when dealing with corrupt officials that embezzled millions. So why point their guns at villagers picking up oranges?” a Weibo user wrote.
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