Cops pass the hat around to help elderly man get through winter after arrest for petty theft

Police at a station in Taoyuan City bought food for a man they arrested on suspicion of petty theft, then passed the hat around and sent him off with a little cash in his pocket, hoping that it could help him through the winter.

Officers from Guishan District Police Precinct were on patrol last night when they noticed two men apparently having an argument on Wensan Third Street at around 9:00 pm.

The police officers stopped to question the men, and found that the owner of a motor scooter had caught an elderly man rummaging through the underseat compartment of the vehicle.

Police took the man in for questioning on suspicion of attempted theft. The 60-year-old man, named Zhao, explained that he was cold and hungry, had noticed that the scooter compartment was not closed properly, and decided to check if there was any money inside, when he was caught red-handed by the owner of the vehicle.

The police investigation found that Zhao was of Chinese ethnicity, but originally from South Korea. His family had emigrated to Taiwan when Zhao was just 16 years old. Zhao’s family was once well off but had fallen on hard times. Both of Zhao’s parents had passed away, and he had since relied on scavenging for recyclable materials to make a living.

Cold and hunger had motivated him to attempt theft, Zhao confessed.

The police officers handed Zhao over to the District Prosecutor’s Office to be charged on suspicion of theft, as required by law. But first, they purchased hot food, and passed the hat around among themselves, raising NT$1,000 to see the man on his way. The chief investigating officer also contacted the Taoyuan City Social Bureau in the hope that they could help Zhao to get through the cold winter.

Police officer at Guishan Police Precinct, Taoyuan City, presents red envelope to suspect in the hope he can survive cold winter months.
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