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You’ve probably heard the story before: a truck carrying fishgrapes or some other foodstuff overturns on a rural road in China; minutes later dozens of people are on the scene shoving as much of it as they can into plastic bags. Often the people filling their pockets are simply living in poverty and, laws be damned, aren’t going to miss the chance to procure some free food, making it difficult to condemn them.

This time, when a truck spilled its cargo on a road in Lanzhou, China, authorities were on the scene in a flash to stop the mob of villagers that had quickly descended on the scattered fruit. When the police felt the need to start pointing guns at women old enough to be their grandmothers, however, it certainly raised a few eyebrows online.

Although the police here were simply doing their job and shouldn’t be commended for preventing what is essentially mass theft, many netizens were shocked to see one officer in particular pointing his pistol at villagers at close range while demanding that they leave the area. Others, meanwhile, were simply shocked that such a display of force should be necessary at all.

Whether this policeman attempted more civil forms of coercion before pulling his gun is unclear, but with the man standing with his gun pointed at a row of unarmed locals, a couple of these photos look more like a scene from HBO’s adaptation of The Walking Dead than something taken in rural China.

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We’re frankly a little bit torn by this one: on the one hand, what these people are doing, whether they are hungry or not, is illegal and the police are right to step in. On the other, the sight of a healthy young male police officer pointing a firearm in the face of an elderly woman who is there to pick up some spilled fruit seems a little extreme.

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Then again, as many internet users even within China commented upon seeing these photos, many of the people pilfering the goods appeared to be quite enjoying themselves rather than looking especially in need of food. Perhaps the authorities are right to be sick of people acting like the old “finders keepers” rule is comparable to actual law?

Source/photos: Xinhua JP via Toychan Net