Facial recognition tech catches fugitive among huge crowd at Jacky Cheung concert in China

A 31-year-old fugitive was arrested at a Jacky Cheung concert after facial recognition technology identified him.
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Police have arrested a fugitive in southeast China after spotting him with facial recognition technology among about 50,000 people attending a pop concert, a news website reported.

The wanted man was detained while attending a show performed by the Hong Kong pop star Jacky Cheung last week in Nanchang in Jiangxi province, Kankan News reported.

The arrest comes as China is viewed as the world leader in adopting facial recognition technology for a variety of uses, including law enforcement.

Read also: Parts of China are using facial recognition technology that can scan the country’s entire population in one second

The initiatives include the construction of the world’s most powerful facial recognition system by law enforcement agencies. The project, launched by the Ministry of Public Security in 2015, is under development in conjunction with a security company based in Shanghai, three people familiar with the matter told the South China Morning Post last October.

The 31-year-old man detained last week, who is wanted for unspecified economic crimes, was said to be in shock when police took him away, according to the article.

Read also: 22 eerie photos show how China uses facial recognition to track its citizens

He had driven 90km from Zhangshu to Nanchang just to see the concert with his wife, the article said.

The man, who was only identified by his family name Ao, was quoted as saying he felt safe among such a huge crowd and would never have gone to the concert if he knew the police were capable of identifying him.

“Ao was suspected to be involved in an economic crime and was listed on a national online system listing the wanted,” police officer Li Jin was quoted as saying. “He was very shocked and had a blank face when we caught him.”

Uses of facial recognition technology in China include people paying at some restaurants or boarding planes after their faces are scanned for identification.

Around 50,000 people attended the Jacky Cheung concert where the man was identified.
Lianhe Wanbao

Jacky Cheung is one of Hong Kong’s most popular pop stars and has been on a world tour since 2016, performing over 140 concerts across China and the rest of the world.


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