Couple find spy camera hidden in apartment rented online

Society & Culture

A couple in Beijing claims to have discovered a secret camera hidden in the bedroom of an apartment they rented through Ziroom, one of China’s largest long-term apartment rental companies.

Yesterday, a WeChat user named “呦呦鹿鸣 yōuyōulùmíng” posted a message about a couple he knows who found a tiny lens secretly installed inside a wall outlet next to their bed in an apartment in Chaoyang District, Beijing. They had been renting it for more than five months. According to the author, on the evening of September 11, the couple noticed a suspicious hole in the outlet and used a sticker to cover it. They alerted police the next morning, who discovered a wireless camera equipped with a 16GB memory card that might have been recording since the couple moved in. The device was connected to the apartments wifi, which was was provided by Ziroom.

While the police launched an investigation into the case immediately, the couple claimed that when they contacted Ziroom one week later, a manager told them the issue had nothing to do with the company.

In an interview with The Paper (in Chinese), Mr. Liu the male renter, told reporters that he and his girlfriend have been afraid of having their privacy leaked to the world since they discovered the camera, but they had decided to continue living in the apartment while waiting for the complaint to be properly addressed. When contacted by The Paper, Chaoyang police said that the investigation is ongoing and it still remains unclear who installed the camera.

On October 15, Ziroom published a statement (in Chinese), saying that it is collaborating with local police to investigate the matter and will double down its efforts to protect tenants’ safety.

Ziroom is currently facing a lawsuit resulting from the death of a 36-year-old Alibaba employee, who rented a room through the platform in January and died of acute myeloid leukemia in July. His wife believes that his death is directly linked to an unsafe level of formaldehyde found in the apartment.