A Brazilian Christian, Mozer Rhian Oliveira, 27, has become a hero in China on Friday after he prevented a theft, in the city of Dongguan, in the Guangdong province (Canton).
Oliveira was going to the gym last week when he saw a man in front of him trying to rob a Chinese woman. "The guy had his hand inside her purse," he said in an interview with the Brazilian publication Diario Gaucho.
The Brazilian described how he hit the thief's back with an umbrella. That is when two other men appeared to help the thief, who had appeared alone at first.
Oliveira was then chased into a nearby building where, in the presence of about 50 witnesses, the robber and his companions beat him over the head with an iron bar.
The "Brazilian hero" has explained that he was baffled by the reaction of the mass group of spectators, as none of them tried to intervene or help him at all. The incident has led to China to reflect once again on an issue originally brought up last October when a two-year-old girl from Yueyue was run over by a car twice in Foshan, yet received no help from passersby as 18 different people just walked past her as she lay seriously injured on the floor.
In an interview, when asked why he decided to help the woman, Oliveira stated, "I am a Christian and I learned about loving my neighbor."
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In addition to a reward equivalent to around US $ 7,700, Oliveira was visited by officers from 20 municipal and provincial governments. He was given an honorary plaque as part of an official campaign to inspire Chinese people to do "good deeds."
Oliveira praised the work of Chinese police, who managed to hunt down and indentify the criminals within 20 hours of the incident. And by the following night they were already arrested. In the days following Oliveira was also visited at his home by the Dongguan police chief.
"He gave me a fruit basket and brought the photos of all the suspects. I recognized them and the police said they would face a sentence of at least 10 years," he said, according to Diario Gaucho.
It was not the first time Oliveira has done such a "good deed." Last year, in the same place, he prevented another theft, which also resulted in the thief being arrested.
Oliveira has said that if the Chinese people can change their mentality to help their neighbors then such incidents could be greatly reduced. At the moment he believes there is a lack of solidarity in the country. Yet he says even after the latest incident he feels safer in China than in Brazil.
The Brazilian hero is a technical manager and is responsible for the quality of a Chinese-based subsidiary of a French company. He has been living in China for the past three years.
Oliveira has now become a celebrity in the Dongguan (Guangdong) region that has the largest concentration of Brazilians in the country.