Published in


AI Makes Jacky Cheung Concerts a “Goodbye Kiss” for Fugitives

Hong Kong pop star Jacky Cheung is widely known as the “God of Songs.” Cheung’s latest concert tour however has earned the veteran singer a new nickname: “Fugitive Catcher.” Last Saturday night a thief and a document forger went to see Cheung perform in Jinhua City, but instead ended up in handcuffs. They were the latest of five criminal suspects to be apprehended at Cheung concerts over the past two months.

News of the arrests is trending on social media, with Chinese netizens joking that “singing may be just [Cheung’s] part-time job. Actually he’s an undercover cop!” and “don’t call him ‘God of Songs,’ call him Officer.” Cheung’s tour stops in the Henan city of Luoyang next month, and local police also got into the act, posting on Weibo: “We are ready!”

Cheung addressed the situation in a recent interview with Chinese media: “To be honest, as a thief, even if you are not caught at my concert, you can get caught going to a convenience store, right?”

The busts are being made using advanced AI-powered facial recognition techniques that can literally pick a face out of a crowd, leaving criminals nowhere to hide.

Let’s take a look at the first suspect. He was spotted by a facial recognition-backed CCTV camera as he entered the concert venue in Nanchang this April, and taken into custody just 30 minutes after Cheung began singing. Similar AI-powered cameras identified the second suspect in a Ganzhou concert hall, and the third in Jiaxing.

“Skynet” — believed to be the brain behind these arrests — is the real-world name for China’s real-time surveillance program for public security. It is billed as the world’s biggest camera surveillance network, with over 20 million cameras deployed across China. Last year, BBC reporter John Sudworth agreed to be tracked by Skynet to test its capabilities. He was located and “apprehended” in just seven minutes.

“Today, 90 percent of the crimes detected by the police come from these monitoring facial recognition cameras,” says Dean of China Telecom Shanghai Research Institute Anmin Li. “They are a high-level technology enabling facial recognition, deep image mining, and mass retrieving.”

Shopping malls, airports, stadiums, and banks are all adopting video surveillance technology, driving a Chinese security surveillance market that is now valued at CNY¥752 billion (US$120 billion) according to the China Securities Industry Network. That’s a big pie, and everyone wants a piece.

Hikvision is thus far the industry leader, accounting for 21.4 percent of the global market in CCTV and video surveillance in 2016, and leading the security surveillance market with an estimated value of US$63 billion. The company’s 2017 net profit was CN¥9.4 billion (US$1.47 billion) with a gross margin of 44 percent. Hikvision is also a major Skynet supplier.

Meanwhile, emerging Chinese AI and computer vision startups are also getting involved. Shuang Wu, senior researcher at Chinese AI unicorn Yitu told Synced that over 30 provincial and 150 municipal public security departments have adopted Yitu’s techniques for identifying criminal activity and hunting fugitives. In 2015, Suzhou local police captured a burglar in just ten minutes, using Yitu tech to pinpoint the target car from among hundreds in a surveillance video.

A fugitive surnamed Ma who was apprehended at a Cheung concert told police, “if I couldn’t sell the tickets, I would enjoy the concert myself.” It is natural to imagine one could simply blend in with a crowd of tens of thousands. But a look at the news shows that’s clearly changing. Will the recent series of arrests turn outlaws into hermits?

Like Cheung said, fugitives who show their faces in Chinese public places will end up being caught. Thanks to AI, it’s only a matter of time.

Journalist: Tony Peng | Editor: Michael Sarazen

Subscribe here to get insightful tech news, reviews and analysis!

Synced and TalkingData will be jointly holding DTalk Episode One: Deploying AI in Mobile-First Customer-facing Financial Products: A Tale of Two Cycles. Jike Chong will share his ideas on employing AI techniques in FinTech business model. Scan the QR code to register! See you on June 21st in Silicon Valley.




We produce professional, authoritative, and thought-provoking content relating to artificial intelligence, machine intelligence, emerging technologies and industrial insights.

Recommended from Medium

Trudeau government to spend over $500K on safe drug supply project

Kawasaki Ninja H2r vs Bugatti Veyron Drag Race 2016 Lamborghini Aventador vs F16 Fighting Falcon

Egypt ready to export gas to Lebanon once US grants waiver

Another Israeli spy satellite launches to monitor Iran’s nuclear program

Al Qaeda expands its terrorism footprint in Yemen

A dose of hope for September

Images of the Lincoln Height School photobook, featuring shots of the group of kids

Jean-Luc Mélenchon and his “creole” populism

Christchurch Shooting vs. Ibrahimi Mosque Massacre — Fascism in our Time

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store


AI Technology & Industry Review — | Newsletter: | Share My Research | Twitter: @Synced_Global

More from Medium

Famous Modern Math Problems: The Erdos-Turan Conjecture

The US Artificial Intelligence Initiative

IBM’s Quantum-Enhanced Markov Chain Monte Carlo Algorithm Facilitates Complicated Probability…

My Top 5 Predictions for AI in 2022