Shanghai police received 25 complaints about people prognosticating doomsday prophecies outside of residents' homes in eight districts Wednesday and Thursday, the Shanghai Municipal Public Security Bureau said on its official microblog.
The complaints, which police received over a 24-hour period, illustrate how serious some residents are taking the Mayan prophecies about the end of the world, which authorities fear might be exploited. "Police made the announcement because there might be people trying to take advantage of the prophecy to scam residents out of money," said Zhu Liang, a press officer with Huangpu police.
The prophecies, which were popularized in the 2009 movie 2012, suggest that a cataclysmic event will strike the Earth on December 21, 2012. Huangpu police reminded residents not to take the scenes depicted in the film seriously.
Shanghai police called on residents to disregard the prognostication Thursday after a resident of Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, tried to give away all of her worldly possessions to accomplish something meaningful before the end of the world. The woman took out a 1 million yuan mortgage on her home and borrowed 70,000 yuan from a friend to donate to the poor.
Other reports have emerged about scammers trying to cash in on people's beliefs. In Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, two con artists tried to persuade residents to donate all their money to escape the end of the world, according to the Zhejiang Province police's official microblog.
Media in other parts of China have also been reporting on the issue. Some residents in Shuangliu, Sichuan Province, have been stockpiling candles and matches after a rumor emerged that three days of darkness will begin on December 21, the West China City Daily reported.
In Chongqing municipality, a man quit his job and blew his 110,000 yuan life savings after he heard about the Mayan doomsday prophecies two years ago, the Chongqing Economics Times reported.