The practice of lower class males and females being hired as body doubles by rich individuals to serve their prison sentences is alluring spotlight in China and is said to have existed for many centuries.
As outrageous as it may appear, the hiring of these so called “stand-ins” or “substitute criminals” is officially documented by the Chinese media and therefore it’s not one of those dark domestic secrets.
Apparently, wealthy Chinese individuals can get away from pretty much everything provided they are able to find themselves a “body double” and pay a fraction from their fortune to that person.
In mid-2009, a globally renowned controversy took place in this regard involving a 20-year old rich man who killed a pedestrian while drag-racing in the streets of Hangzhou. The culprit was sentenced for three years in prison.
The drama amplified when it was revealed that it wasn’t the same person who stood in trial. Rather, it was someone else who stood in court and was convicted to jail in place of the actual criminal.
The case was treated with nationwide resentment.
This case isn’t an exception, though. A new report from the Slate’s Geoff Sant has emerged whereby a police officer in central China discusses the phenomenon of this bizarre practice with the reporter.
“If somebody is powerful, there’s a good chance they can make this happen. Spend some money and remain free,” said the policeman whose name has been kept anonymous.
As for the availability of these body doubles, he continued that hiring of these individuals is “not common but not rare either.”
In many cases of traffic accidents where evidence is incomplete and police is unable to identify the driver, family members cover for each other and falsely confess to the crime committed by someone else.
It is believed that one-tenth of one percent of the country’s population is excessively wealthy and thus controls nearly half of China’s wealth. This employment of substitute criminals is just one way these rich individuals are able to make their own set of rules.