There is more about the Palma beggars controlled by a Romanian gang. Although it was previously reported that they can typically raise between 75 and 100 euros per day, witnesses are suggesting that this can be much higher.
One particular case is being highlighted. It is of a woman with a wheelchair who begs by Plaça Espanya. According to a witness, each morning around half eight or nine two young men bring her to the spot by car. Around midday or later, when a certain amount of money has been taken, she makes a call from a mobile phone that has been hidden. Shortly afterwards the men return and collect her. Because of the number of people passing her by, the daily amount, the witness says, is up to 500 or 600 euros.
While the male beggars operate at traffic lights, the women are typically stationed outside supermarkets. In addition to begging, they have also been selling calendars. In the majority of cases, these calendars are the same, lending more weight to the evidence that the women are all part of one gang.
As far as the police are concerned, while they keep a close eye on them, it is said that the beggars do not create problems of public order. But if they are found with posters that feature photos of children (used to elicit greater sympathy), the police take the posters off them. The photos have been downloaded from the internet.
Another witness, a resident in the calle Aragon, explains how beggars' disabilities can be exaggerated. At the doors of a supermarket there is one whose hand is shaking as the glass is presented to potential donors. When there's no one around, the hand stops shaking.