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More Details Emerge: Didi Killer Took 9000 RMB from Victim Before Murder

Manya Koetse

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A day after the brutal killing of a female passenger using one of Didi’s car-hailing services made headlines in China, more details emerge about the circumstances of the homicide.

One of the most shocking details reported in Chinese media today is that the driver, the suspected murderer of the 20-year-old female, made her transfer an amount of 9000 yuan (±$1320) to his account before taking her life.

The driver reportedly had to drive to an area with better phone reception in order for the online transaction to succeed. Once the victim, a woman by the name of Xiao Zhao (小赵), had succeeded in transferring the money to his account via WeChat wallet, he raped her, stabbed her to death, and rolled her body off a cliff.

The incident took place during a so-called ‘Didi Shunfengche‘ (乘顺风车) ride, a car-pooling service from Chinese Uber-like company Didi Kuaidi, which was first introduced in 2015.

Chinese online news outlet The Paper reports that instead of choosing the highway – which would have taken around 40 minutes to her final destination -, the driver had taken a desolate mountainous route during the ride. At some point during this ride, he tied the hands and feet of Xiao Zhao so she couldn’t move, and taped off her mouth.

Timeline:

August 24:

±13:00: The 20-year-old Zhao from Wenzhou arranges a Didi ‘carpool’ ride from Hongqiao Town to Yongjia to attend a birthday party.

14:09: Xiao Zhao sends a WeChat message to a friend, saying. “I’m scared, the driver has taken a mountain road, there’s no one here.”

14:14: Xiao Zhao sends her last words to her friends via Wechat, writing “Help” (救命) and “Save me” (抢救).

“Help me,” Xiao Zhao cried for help through message before her phone lost contact.

15:42: After Xiao Zhao’s friend has contacted the Didi help desk seven times within the time frame of an hour, she is told to “please wait patiently.”

16:22: The friend informs Yongjia police of the situation.

17:35: The family members also report the case to the Yueqing police.

17:42: Xiao Zhao’s friend asks Didi customer service for the details of the driver, but is denied this information.

18:13: Didi provides police with the vehicle and driver information.

August 25:

4:00: The criminal suspect, the Didi driver, is arrested by local police, and admits to raping and killing the female passenger.

±6:00: Police and rescue workers find the victim’s body in a mountainous area near the road.

For the past two days, this case has been one of the main trending topics on Chinese social media, with many condemning the company for failing to protect (female) passengers against such dangers.

The inadequate response of customer service has been a major topic of discussion; they did not only fail to respond to this case in time, but earlier this week, another woman claimed she was harassed by the same driver, and customer service also did not take action against him.

It now appears that Didi has been outsourcing its customer service, resulting in service workers not having the authority nor ability to see into more detailed information about Didi’s registered drivers and ride information.

For now, Didi has taken down its entire ‘shunfengche‘ carpooling service nationwide. The service is different from its regular Didi service in that it allows car owners to drive people to their destination while they are going there themselves (much like hitchhiking), making some money by sharing the ride.

Meanwhile, many Chinese news media outlets report more background details on the suspect. The 27-year-old Sichuan native was a high-school dropout and a ‘left-behind child’ (留守儿童) – meaning his parents are migrant workers who had to leave their child in their more rural hometown while going out to work in the city.

This is the second murder of a female passenger using Didi’s services within four months time. For more informarion on this case, please check our report here.

By Manya Koetse, and Miranda Barnes

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

©2018 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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Manya Koetse is the editor-in-chief of www.whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer and consultant (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends in China, with a focus on social media and digital developments, popular culture, and gender issues. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Alex

    August 27, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    Great summary as usual. Would it be possible for you to also include the pinyin when writing the Chinese characters? It’d make it much easier to learn the pronunciation any characters I don’t recognize. Some articles have it already (快狗 article for instance).

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China Digital

Cybersecurity Experts Warn: Flicking the V-Sign in Photos Could Give Away Your Fingerprint Data

V-sign selfie pictures could disclose personal information about your fingerprints, security experts warn.

Manya Koetse

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Our cameras are getting better, but that’s not always a good thing. Chinese internet security experts warn that peace sign photos could potentially be abused to collect fingerprint data.

The 2019 China Cybersecurity Week was held in Shanghai this week, and made it to the top trending topics on Sina Weibo today.

The topic attracting the attention of millions of Chinese web users is not China’s cybersecurity in general, but one that was discussed during the event, namely the potential privacy risks in making a V-sign on photos.

Chinese internet security experts at the conference warned that people are unaware that they could be giving away personal data information about their fingerprints when sharing photos of themselves making a peace sign.

If the side of the fingertips is facing the camera, and if there is not a lot of space in between the camera and the hand, it would potentially be possible to gather fingerprint data using photo enlargement tools and AI techniques.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez.

The deputy director of the Shanghai Information Security Industry Association stated that photos displaying a fingertop-facing V-sign taken within 1,5 meter of the camera could potentially disclose 100% of one’s fingerprint information, China Press reports.

A booth at the conference giving information about fingerprint information leaking through V-sign photos. Photo via China Press.

Criminals could reconstruct fingerprint patterns of other people and abuse them in various means – basically wherever fingerprint information is used to confirm people’s identities (e.g. biometric door locks or fingerprint payment scanning).

Besides not disclosing fingerprint information in photos posted online, experts also warn people not to leave fingerprint information at machines without confirming their purpose and legality.

Fingerprint scanning is used for a multitude of purposes in China. Foreigners who arrived in China since 2017 will also be familiar with the policy of collecting foreign passport holders’ fingerprints upon their arrival in the PRC.

On Chinese social media, the topic “Making a V-Sign Could Leak Your Fingerprint Data” is one of the biggest being discussed today. On Weibo, the hashtag has gathered 200 million views at time of writing (#拍照比剪刀手会泄露指纹信息#).

Some commenters advise people on social media to make peace signs with the nail side of the fingers facing the camera. (That gesture, however, is deemed an offensive gesture in some nations.)

The V-sign is often used as a rather non-symbolic or cute gesture across in East Asia.

Although in many Western countries, the symbol is mostly known as the victory sign (“V for Victory”) as used during World War II, it entered mainstream popular culture in Japan since the 1960s and spread to other Asian countries from there.

This Time article explains how the gesture appeared in Japanese manga in the late 1960s, one of them titled V is the Sign (Sain wa ‘V’ / サインはV).

Amid the concerned Weibo users, some are not worried: “It’s ok,” one commenter writes: “Using a Beauty App smoothes out my skin anyway.”

There are also many commenters who are confused about the news, wondering what advanced photo camera quality and AI technique might implicate for future privacy risks concerning face recognition data and iris scanning software (“Should we also close our eyes?”).

Others offer a different solution to the unexpected V-sign issue: “Just flip the middle finger instead.”

By Manya Koetse

The images used in the featured image on this page come from 追星娱乐说.

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. Please note that your comment below will need to be manually approved if you’re a first-time poster here.

©2019 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com

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China Arts & Entertainment

Famous Chinese Nursery Song “One Penny” Inflates to “One Yuan”

One penny becomes one yuan in this children’s song. What’s next – changing it to QR codes?

Manya Koetse

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Famous Chinese children’s song “One Penny” (一分钱) has changed its penny to a Chinese yuan ($0.15).

The lyrics to the song are now published online and in children’s books with the different lyrics, Chinese news platform City Bulletin (@都市快报) reports on Weibo.

The altered text in a children’s book.

The classic song, in translation, says:

I found a penny on the street,
And handed it over to Uncle Policeman.
The Uncle Policeman took the penny,
And nodded his head at me.
I happily said: “Uncle, goodbye!

The song, by Chinese composer Pan Zhensheng (潘振声), is known throughout China. It came out in 1963.

Apparently, in present-day China, nobody would go through so much hassle for a penny anymore, and so the text was altered (although it is very doubtful people would go through the trouble for one yuan either).

The penny coin (0.01) in renminbi was first issued in 1957, and is somewhat rare to come across these days. “It’s probably even worth more than one yuan now,” some netizens argue.

Chinese media report that composer Pan Zhensheng said the song is just an innocent children’s song, and that it should not be affected by price inflation. Sina News also quoted the composer in saying that changing the text is “not respectful.”

Although some Chinese netizens think the change in the song is just normal modern development, others do not agree at all. In Hangzhou, some say, all you can find on the streets nowadays is QR codes rather than coins. Surely the song should not incorporate those new developments either?

Some commenters on Weibo say the song would never be realistic in China’s current cashless society anyway: “Kids nowadays are not finding cash money at all anymore!”

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. Please note that your comment below will need to be manually approved if you’re a first-time poster here.

©2019 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com

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