Dead man walking! A Chinese soft drink vendor's plan to fake his own death for financial gain was foiled when the heat in central Hubei Province proved too much for him to act dead.
The incident took place yesterday, when more than 10 men were holding the sheet-covered vendor's "corpse" on a gurney near the Jianghan Road subway station in the provincial capital Wuhan.
They claimed that urban management workers had beaten the man to death and demanded tens of thousands of yuan in compensation, a worker with the city's urban management committee said today.
More than 300 people gathered at the scene, and later, over 80 police officers were dispatched to maintain order there.
The crowd dispersed two hours later, when the "dead" vendor suddenly jumped up, grabbed a bottle of water and drank it before saying, "It's too hot. I can't bear it anymore."
The soft drink vendor surnamed Han and two others have been detained for disturbing public order, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
After being detained, Han told police that urban management workers with the city's Jianghan District had clashed with the vendors after telling them that their stands were blocking traffic and asked them to leave, confiscating their mineral water and other beverages.
A hospital in Wuhan City confirmed that some vendors and urban management workers sustained minor injuries in the altercation, but no one was killed.
China's urban management workers are often criticised for their violent approach in tackling low-level, urban and non-criminal regulation violations.
Reports about urban management law enforcement units often appear in the media, accusing the officers of beating vendors and smashing their stalls.
In the latest case, a watermelon vendor who brawled with urban management officers in central China's Hunan Province died of an intracranial hemorrhage caused by external force on July 17, according to the autopsy report released late July.
Saturday's weather record shows that the day's high hit 36 degrees Celsius in Wuhan, but local residents taking independent temperature measurements recorded the high at 45 degrees Celsius in downtown Wuhan.
Other parts of China have been experiencing extreme heat, as well, including Fujian, Hunan and Zhejiang provinces and Chongqing and Shanghai municipalities.
More than 10 people across the country died of heatstroke last week.