A Chinese man who was wanted by police for “economic crimes” was arrested at a music concert in China after facial recognition technology spotted him inside the venue.
The man was attending a concert by Hong Kong singer Jacky Cheung in the Nanchang, Jiangxi province when security cameras recognized him. According to the South China Morning Post, the man, only identified by family name Ao, was shocked when police approached him. Ao had driven 56 miles with his wife to attend the concert, telling authorities he felt safe in the crowd, estimated to be over 50,000, and that he would have never gone if he thought there was a chance he would be identified. “Ao was suspected to be involved in an economic crime and was listed on a national online system,” police officer Li Jin said. “He was very shocked and had a blank face when we caught him.”
This isn’t the first time China’s facial recognition technology has caught criminals at public events. Last year, 25 wanted individuals were arrested at a beer festival when cameras at entrances flagged the subjects’ faces. Police in Zhengzhou are also testing glasses with built-in facial recognition at select train stations, and they say it’s already helped to capture seven suspects wanted in major cases, as well as 26 individuals traveling under false identities. The tech is also being utilized in more innocuous ways, like paying for orders at a KFC in Hangzhou.
China has ramped up tracking technologies in recent years, becoming a burgeoning tech-surveillance state. One estimate suggests the country will have more than 600 million CCTV cameras by 2020, and the country is instituting a “social credit” system beginning in May that will dock low-ranking citizens in ways like banning them from buying plane or train tickets for up to a year.