Man arrested at concert by facial recognition cameras

Society & Culture

Police used facial recognition technology to identify and arrest a criminal suspect at a pop music concert by Jacky Cheung 张学友 in Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, on April 7.

The arrest was made around 7:38 p.m., not long after the concert kicked off in a stadium that seats around 70,000 people at its full capacity. “He looked extremely astonished when we arrested him,” a police officer told Kankan News (in Chinese). “Apparently, he didn’t anticipate being caught by the police in such a massive crowd.”

According to local police, the suspect is a man surnamed Ao 敖, 31. He was spotted by a network of intelligent security facial recognition cameras installed in the venue. His face was scanned and checked against a database of suspects. He was on the police watch list for “economic crimes.” Originally from the city of Zhangshu, Ao said that he drove to Nanchang with his wife and several friends to attend Jacky Cheung’s concert.

The Chinese government’s aggressive expansion of its facial recognition system has been making headlines regularly recently. Last year, at the annual beer festival in Qingdao, Shandong Province, local police arrested 25 criminal suspects using 18 facial recognition cameras. According to the Verge, in addition to a widespread network of surveillance cameras across the country, mostly in airports, hotels, and large venues, China’s police have been testing sunglasses with built-in facial recognition to scan travelers and catch suspects.

The implementation of such technology is so versatile in China that you can also find it in public bathrooms in Beijing, where dispensers powered by facial recognition software were installed to combat toilet paper thieves.