Chinese reporter probing homeless shelter assaulted

Last Updated: Thu, Jan 10, 2013 11:40 hrs

Beijing, Jan 10 (IANS) Authorities in China have launched a probe into a shelter for the homeless after an undercover reporter claimed he was beaten up when he went there to investigate.

The incident took place in central China's Changsha city, the Shanghai Daily reported.

The Sanxiang City Express reporter, dressed as a homeless man and pretending to be deaf, said three people at the shelter kicked him to the ground, held his hands behind his back, and trampled on his body so hard he could not move or even take a breath.

He said he begged them to stop and asked if he could leave but the staff just pressed their knees to the reporter's head and told him: "Want to leave now? It's too late."

The newspaper said its reporter was trying to find out why homeless people would rather stay out in the cold, under bridges or in underground tunnels, rather than go to the warm government shelter.

A homeless man was found frozen to death under a bridge in Changsha, just days after another man was found dead due to the bitter cold in the city.

Despite the deaths, at least 20 homeless people told the newspaper they were reluctant to look for help from shelters.

A homeless man who has been wandering the streets for three years said he did not go to a shelter because he felt like he was treated as a prisoner there.

The reporter borrowed a shabby coat and pretended to be a deaf homeless man. He stood at a crossroads and soon people passing by called a shelter service for help.

A man then called the police and they took the reporter to the shelter.

Another reporter said he saw an elderly homeless man lying on a stretcher.

A photograph in Shanghai Daily showed the man's hands were tied behind his back and his legs were also tied. Blood was seen on his lips and he told the daily he had been beaten.

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