Fraud or not? Elderly man begs for money at Ang Mo Kio, claims it's to raise money for mum's funeral

Fraud or not? Elderly man begs for money at Ang Mo Kio, claims it's to raise money for mum's funeral
Zhou has been spotted begging for money at an Ang Mo Kio underpass for the past three weeks, claiming the money is for his late mother's funeral expenses.
PHOTO: Shin Min Daily News

It's not unusual to find elderlies selling packets of tissue paper along underpasses, but one man spotted doing so seemed to have raised some eyebrows. 

The man, surnamed Zhou, has been seen camping at the underpass between Ang Mo Kio MRT station and AMK Hub for the past three weeks, reported Shin Min Daily News. 

Seated on an orange stool, Zhou, who is in his seventies, has two placards placed in front of him describing his predicament. 

One of the placards reads: "Family urgently need[s] $3,000 for late mother's funeral expenses. Will return money asap (within three months). Willing to provide personal particulars to good samaritans as proof of identity and act of good faith. [Thank you]!" 

The other placard appears to be a thank-you note to strangers who have donated to him. 

Speaking to the Chinese daily, Zhou shared that his 90-year-old mother was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago, and died some two weeks ago. 

Due to the family's financial limitations, Zhou said he had to borrow $3,000 from his relatives to pay for her funeral.

"I need to return the money, and I've raised about one-third of the amount so far. I'll leave once I raise the full sum," he told the Chinese daily, adding that he is usually at the underpass from about 7am to 8pm. 

Revealing more about himself, Zhou said he lives in Toa Payoh, and that he used to sell packets of tissue paper at a spot near his home after his mother's death but was allegedly chased away after it was found he did not have a street hawking license. 

Some don't buy his story

His 'street hustle' aside, Zhou said he also works as a security guard at night, which brings him some $2,000 a month. However, he said he lives from paycheque to paycheque and has no savings. 

"In the day, I'll sit here to raise funds, then at night I'll go to work," he said. 

"I'm getting on in years, I can't look for another job as my body might not be able to handle it. I have little choice but to beg for money." 

Although Zhou said he has been able to get donations of up to $50 from kind strangers, some don't seem to buy his story. 

An employee from a nearby convenience store told Shin Min that Zhou has actually been seen begging for money at that Ang Mo Kio spot for the past two months.

Another member of the public, who declined to be named, divulged that he'd seen Zhou begging elsewhere some 20 years ago. 

This person claimed that back then, Zhang had a bandage on his leg and a placard saying he had sustained an injury from work. 

When asked about these accounts, Zhou denied the claims, insisting that he'd only been at the underpass for about a week. 

Back in 2019, an elderly man was caught gambling away money he'd received from some Good Samaritans

A Lianhe Zaobao reader known as Deng exposed his modus operandi after he tailed the elderly man, who was standing outside Northpoint City begging for money. 

"When he spoke, his voice would waver. He also had to lean against a pillar to stabilise himself. He looked very weak and pitiful," Deng told the Chinese daily.

Deng eventually followed the man to a Singapore Pools outlet, where he was seen pulling out the donations he received, spending them on lottery tickets. 

ALSO READ: Should you ever give money to a beggar in the streets?

This website is best viewed using the latest versions of web browsers.