Chinese peeping Tom installed secret cameras to film couples in love hotels and sell footage online
Man accused of selling footage through popular social media platform
A man has been arrested in southwest China on suspicion of installing webcams in hotels to film couples having sex and then selling the footage online, according to local media reports.
Police started looking for the peeping Tom after a newly-wed couple who checked into a love hotel in Sichuan in April spotted one of the cameras, the Chengdu Business Daily reported on Saturday.
The couple had travelled to Chengdu from a nearby town to shoot their wedding photos and decided to spend the night in the provincial capital.
When the couple went to bed they looked up and saw a hole in the ceiling, which they examined and found a camera had been hidden inside pointing directly at the bed.
The two immediately called the police, who soon arrived and took out the camera.
Police found no memory cards inside so concluded it was a real-time webcam that sent footage to another platform.
“My whole body just froze up,” said the woman, who then decided to spend the night sleeping in the car with her husband.
The next day, the couple went to the hotel to demand an explanation, but the hotel said it was not aware the camera was there.
After further investigation, a second webcam was found in a room on the same floor.
Hotel staff told police they remembered that a man had booked two rooms at the hotel in March and checked in on his own. The two rooms he had booked turned out to be the ones that had the cameras installed.
A month later, police seized the suspect in his flat, and found two hard drives totalling 3 terrabtyes of memory containing the sex tapes he had recorded.
The man was reported to have told police he came up with the idea because he was broke and wanted to earn some quick money by selling the clandestine footage.
He first installed cameras in hotels in his home county about 100km (60 miles) away from Chengdu, but the people who checked in to the hotels were “not ideal”, he said.
Following suggestions from his customers, he decided to install cameras in more expensive hotels in the provincial capital, and bought a fake identity card online.
Through mobile apps, he located love hotels popular among young couples. But the first camera he installed in January was soon discovered by a hotel staff member and thrown away.
Not ready to give up, he tried again in March.
The two cameras he is accused of installing then had been connected to the power strip in the ceiling and could be automatically turned on when the customers plugged in the room key.
The report said footage was directly sent to the man’s phone and then uploaded to a computer.
Police believe the man created a chat group on QQ, a popular social media platform, and started to absorb “members” who would pay a monthly fee for unlimited access to the footage.
In just a few months, the monthly fee rose from 400 yuan (US$60) per month to 2,000 yuan. He had about 10 “members” in total and made 15,000 yuan, he said.
The man has now been officially arrested on the charge of spreading obscene articles. There was no word on whether police would seek to take action against his subscribers.