In the early hours of Monday morning this week, a truck scattered its nine-ton load of fresh fish across the surface of the road after crashing and flipping over on a freeway in China. As word spread of the terrible accident, droves of people quickly arrived on the scene, causing further traffic jams and making the situation yet more perilous as they descended on the cargo, armed with plastic bags or various sizes.

If you’re suddenly experiencing feelings déjà vu, rest assured that you’re neither trapped in the matrix nor losing the plot; as regular readers may recall, in September last year a very similar accident occurred in Lanzhou, China, when a truck crash resulted in crowds of people scampering about the wreckage picking up all the grapes they could carry.

Although it’s only natural for people to get lost in the moment (after all, it’s not every day that you find the street littered with free stuff, is it?), we have to say that we find ourselves in agreement with the many Chinese Internet users who have condemned the behaviour of those photographed looting the truck’s cargo, least not because they did so while completely ignoring those injured in the accident.

Here’s a small sample of the comments posted online in China after the incident occurred:

– This is so embarrassing.

– “I can’t believe this happened again.”

– “Surely this is theft, plain and simple?”

– “Wow. Choosing a few fish over human life…”

– “We’ll be the laughing-stock of Japan all over again.”

– “You’re busy picking up fish but don’t bother tending to the wounded!? And you call yourselves human beings!?”

Among these irate voices, however, were those suggesting that the behaviour of these locals is to be expected given the current economic climate in China, and that people are forced to grab any such opportunities with both hands when they present themselves.

Thankfully, the truck driver is believed to be in a stable condition and no one else was hurt despite the masses of people wandering around the crash site. We certainly hope they gave any fish they picked up off the ground a thorough scrubbing, though, or they may well find themselves in a worse condition than those in the accident.
[ Read in Japanese ]