Chinese cops offer money to netizens to hunt criminals

Saturday, December 25, 2010

BEIJING - In an effort to curb crime, Chinese police have started offering money to encourage internet users to inform about suspected criminals.

Earlier this month, the public security bureau in Sayibak district of Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, posted a photo on its website showing a crime scene. It said anyone providing information about the case could be rewarded 500 to 5,000 yuan ($75 to $750), either in real money or QQ coin, reported China Daily.

QQ coin is the virtual currency used for payment of virtual items and services on China’s popular online instant-messaging network QQ.

According to Tencent, the creator and owner of QQ, the website had 636 million users by Sep 30, with a peak of 118 million users logging in simultaneously.

Since the notice was posted Dec 16, several other websites, including, and, posted the notice, which received more than 800 hits.

“We haven’t got any really useful or valuable information so far, but we believe it gives us a broader range of help by counting on netizens, such as QQ users, simply because there are so many of them, and offering QQ coins actually gets more of them interested,” a police officer was quoted as saying.

“Police especially have to keep up with the times, and it is both necessary and helpful to mix traditional investigation methods with modern information tools and platforms,” he said.

On Nov 26, the public security bureau of Tianning district in Changzhou city, Jiangsu province, posted a similar notice on its blog, offering 10,000 yuan or equivalent QQ coin to those who provide clues to the police.

On Dec 3, one week after the notice, a netizen surnamed Chen called police and said the suspect was his friend. Chen later persuaded the suspect to confess.

“We will actively try to be helpful and provide useful information if we know anything,” said a netizen with the online name “Woaidaodao”.

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