Just imagine: A woman, alone in a hotel, stalked – when the stalker eventually started using violence, passers-by look on indifferently, as if this had been just another brawl between lovers. Yes, the victim did cry for help, yet nobody took heed to the helpless cry. The chilling experience was shared by the victim whose account name on weibo is Wanwan (@弯弯_2016) . Her unnerving story soon triggered a nationwide rage online at the night of April 5.
On April 3, 2016, Wanwan was travelling in Beijing and stayed alone in a Yitel, an economy hotel chain under Homeinns Co., Ltd. She booked the hotel on Ctrip’s website, a widely-used booking site in China.
Upon returning to her room, Wanwan stepped out of the hotel elevator and searched for her room card from her bag. What she did not notice was that a chilling attempt of abduction was about to unfold.
Together with Wanwan in the elevator was a man; he followed her out of the elevator. Then, the man asked Wanwan, “What is your room number?” The question immediately alarmed Wanwan.
“Why should I tell you? Who are you anyway?” she said.
Then, the nightmare began.
The man started to force Wanwan to go with him and attempted to drag her along. Wanwan started to scream, and that was when the man strangled her in her neck.
“Help!” Wanwan cried out desperately. A janitor heard the noise and came over.
“I don’t know him! Help me!” Wanwan implored desperately and tearfully.
The janitor, who may have believed they were just another couple arguing, casually asked them in a low voice to stop the fight. However, he did not lend a hand. Footage showed that the staff was present during the whole incident, neither too close nor too far away, but he did not intervene.
Wanwan sat on the floor to prevent the man from dragging her along. She managed to dial emergency number 110 for police. Surveillance video showed that the man also made a phone call for help. Wanwan did try to make an escape by dashing into the elevator, only to be forcefully pulled back by the man who strangled her further.
It was at this moment when a female hotel guest approached. When the man again tried to hurl Wanwan into a dark corridor, the woman grabbed Wanwan’s hand and pulled her back up. Seeing his scheme failed, the man ran from the scene.
After the incident had long passed, the manager of the hotel appeared. Yet he is not as late as the police, who checked the surveillance camera and noted down Wanwan and other witnesses’ alibi.
Horrified and nearly collapsed, Wanwan stayed at her friend’s for a night, but her nightmare continued.
The investigation stalled as the local police station said the “investigator is away and will not be back until Thursday”. What’s worse is that the dispatchers of 110 police hotline said, “This is not within our responsibility”.
The hotel held the stance that now that Wanwan had called the police, we should just wait to see what would come out of it. Wanwan has also contacted ctrip.com where she booked the hotel to question their verification of collaborating hotels, ctrip responded that the case had been reported and then no more.
When Wanwan’s post started to trend on weibo, Yitel the hotel contacted Wanwan, in an attempt to bribe her for deleting the post. Wanwan refused.
The post soon swept across this social media platform, causing outrageous and shocking horror nationwide.
“Who would expect a hotel in China’s capital be as dangerous as this?” One netizen commented.
“If the hotel staff and police would not be there for us as in Wanwan’s experience, who can guarantee our safety?” Another criticized.
So far, Wanan’s story has been reposted for over 450,000 times, and the widespread rage eventually got the relevant parties to respond. Both Yitel and Ctrip made announcements that they see case with a serious attitude and it will be thoroughly investigated. Local police station said the case is in progress. Their preliminary investigation said that the attacked woman has suffered neither property damage nor personal injury, and the attacker “seemed drunk”.
The case is still ongoing.