Monday September 07, 2015

Some drivers in China are intentionally killing injured pedestrians

Pedestrians cross the road past heavily congested traffic in the town centre in Guangzhou in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong.

Pedestrians cross the road past heavily congested traffic in the town centre in Guangzhou in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong. (MIKE CLARKE/AFP/Getty Images)

Listen 6:10

When a driver in China hits a pedestrian, that driver might get out of the vehicle to see if the person they struck is okay. But, more often than we'd like to think, that driver may then hit the pedestrian again -- with the full intention of killing him.

It's called the "hit-to-kill" phenomenon. New York based lawyer Geoffrey Sant has written a piece about it in Slate. He's the director of the Chinese Business Lawyers Association. 

"It's a really sad scenario. And, I do want to be clear that this isn't something that happens every time there's an accident. But, it is true that drivers that hit a pedestrian will actually come back and hit them a second time, or even a third time, to make sure they're dead," Sant tells As it Happens host Carol Off. 

Sant believes that this problem stems from the "perverse compensation system" in China. 

If a driver accidentally kills a pedestrian, they have to pay a one time fee. Sant says this can range from $30,000 to $50,000 (US). But, if a driver seriously injures someone, they have to cover the cost of lifetime care. In extreme cases, that could add up to around a million dollars US, says Sant. 

"I think as long as the compensation is so out of wack there will be people who will continue to do this," says Sant. "The difference is astronomical and that's why some people ... will go back and kill the person." 

To hear how people are getting away with this, take a listen to the full interview above. 

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