Big bonsai?

The strange out of proportions of these two olive trees grabbed my attention. Everything about them seemed wrong. The thick, rough trunks spoke of older mature trees— how old I was not sure, 40-50 years? They have the truncated size of a full tree cut down and cut up, a chunk of the trunk taken and stuck in a pot. But how did they achieve the new grow that sprouted happily out of the top of the trunk not from intermediary branches? What did the root stock look like, trapped in the comparatively tiny buckets of soil, cramped like bound feet? Passing by I look at them and see the top of the fist of roots gripping into the pot.
I am caught between admiration of the plants’ capacity to survive and grow and horror at the circumstance that someone has inflicted upon them.

Since spotting these two I have spotted more, less extreme, smaller ones. They are all at restaurants, at the entrances—it must be a fashion!