BEIJING, Dec. 3 -- Beijing police denied on Tuesday that a Chinese woman attempted to blackmail a male foreigner whose unlicensed motorcycle allegedly hit her at a crosswalk in the city.
The middle-aged woman was allegedly hit by a motorcycle carrying two people at around 10:33 a.m. Monday, and she then fell to the ground while walking at a pedestrian crossing in Chaoyang District, said Beijing police.
The woman said she felt discomfort. Police handling the incident called an ambulance, which carried her to a nearby hospital. A medical examination showed she suffered minor injuries and the two sides reached an agreement on compensation by themselves, according to police.
However, the accident was widely discussed on the Internet after some media reports indicated the woman was blackmailing the foreigner.
According to these reports, the woman suddenly fell down as she was passing a foreigner driving a motorcycle. The foreigner helped her stand up, but she said her legs were hurt, and the two began arguing. Medical examinations showed she was not hurt, but the foreigner still paid her 1,800 yuan (about 293 U.S. dollars) for medical fees.
A video recorded by a witness showed the foreigner shouted at the woman with abusive words in Chinese and English, while the woman tried to stop the foreigner from leaving the scene, and the two argued.
The foreigner had no driver's license and his motorcycle had no license plate, said police, who temporarily seized the motorcycle on Monday. The foreigner will be punished for traffic law violations, said police.
The use of blackmail in some traffic or other accidents is often called "pengci" in Chinese. The practice is condemned by many, as it can lead to a reluctance to help people injured in accidents for fear of being blackmailed.
In a recent case, a woman in her 70s in southwest China's Sichuan Province insisted she was hit by three children after she fell to the ground in June. After an investigation, police recently confirmed she accidentally fell on her own, and the three children helped her to stand up.
In another case, an old man fell down on a street last month in an east China city, but no pedestrians dared to help him, and only called an ambulance instead.