Between January and May 2005, 15,401 vagrants and beggars in Guangzhou were sent to government welfare centres.
The exact number of vagrants and beggars in the urban area of Guangzhou is much larger than this figure.
“Most of them are professional beggars, who actually make a living begging,” said Yang Zhongfa, vice-director of the bureau. “Only a few of them are really too poor to survive or have encountered real misfortune.”
The beggars often force or pester passers-by for money. Some even commit crimes, Yang said.