A man in China managed to evade security guards and live comfortably in a mall for six months. According to The New York Post, the man, whose identity hasn’t been revealed, ingeniously set up a tent, table, computer and chair under a staircase at a Shanghai mall. He went unnoticed for months despite wandering out each day to charge his electronic devices.
According to the outlet, a security guard had discovered the unauthorised tenant months ago but permitted him to continue his stay after he told him he needed a quiet “place to study”. But the squatter’s extended sojourn came to an abrupt end on October 30 when another mall security guard, less sympathetic to the arrangement, discovered and promptly arrested him.
For now, the man’s motivation behind the peculiar choice of resident remains unclear. However, according to the outlet, people making themselves at home in shopping centres in China is more common than you might think.
The Post reported that in 2016, Ikea China customers gained notoriety for indulging in naps on the furniture store’s display beds. This prompted Beijing branches to implement a ban on the practice. However, despite prohibition, some shoppers persisted in treating showrooms as personal sleeping quarters.
In the US too, such incidents have occurred. According to Metro, artist Michael Townsend was arrested in 2007 after squatting inside a Rhode Island shopping mall for four years as part of a project on mall life. He managed to evade security guards by erecting an underground bunker in the centre’s parking garage. Back then, he said that the stunt was inspired by a holiday advertisement for the centre, in which a female voice gushed about “how great it would be if you (we) could live at the mall.”
He also added that he viewed the mall as an “escape and oasis” from his creation of a 9/11 memorial around the same time he moved into the mall.