CRIME

Changchun baby murder

Net users blame 'Skynet' over death of abducted mainland baby

Costly national surveillance network criticised for failing to find kidnapped infant in stolen SUV

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 08 March, 2013, 5:36am

A costly national surveillance network is under fire in Changchun, Jilin, for failing to catch the suspect in a high-profile kidnapping case that tragically ended in the death of a two-month-old baby boy.

The incident has captivated the mainland public this week, with an outpouring of mourning for the infant, along with scrutiny of local police.

"It was a security guard who found the vehicle and notified police. The suspect then turned himself in to police. And the baby's body was found after the suspect took police to the site [of the killing]," an internet user was quoted as saying by Chinanews.com, accusing the police of not doing enough.

It was a security guard who found the vehicle and notified police. The suspect then turned himself in to police. And the baby's body was found after the suspect took police to the site [of the killing]

The episode began around 7.20am on Monday, when the father of Xu Haobo left him inside an unlocked and still-running SUV while going inside a convenience store where the man worked in Luyuan district. After about 10 minutes, the father emerged to find his son and SUV missing. The boy was later found choked to death and buried in the snow about 40 kilometres away, after a suspect turned himself in on Tuesday.

After an outpouring of grief, many internet users became furious and questioned why the national surveillance network, dubbed "Skynet", which officials have been expanding since August 2010, could not find the vehicle as it left the city, especially since police knew its plate number and had a description.

In Changchun, about 58,000 surveillance cameras have been installed, said Xinhua, and the local network cost about 140 million yuan (HK$173 million).

Some microblog users said the network must be simply a "tofu" project, referring to shoddy public projects on the mainland, a number of which have been used as means for corrupt officials to embezzle money.

Xu Shaolin, a popular microblogger, wrote on Caijing website on Wednesday that the eye-in-the-sky network catches everyone who runs a red light.

Changchun police could not be reached for any comment yesterday.