Mug shots: Facial recognition nabs crooks at China's Qingdao beer fest

BEIJING (AFP) - Criminals looking for a quiet pint suddenly found themselves collared when cops used facial recognition technology to catch thirsty crooks at a Chinese beer festival.

Twenty-five wanted individuals were arrested when they tipped up to sample the offerings at the annual bash in Qingdao - home to China's most famous brew.

Those snared included one man who had been on the run for 10 years, only to be undone by his hankering for a lager.

Eighteen cameras installed at four entrances to the festival identified each of the suspects in under one second, Qingdao police said this week.

Dozens of other people with criminal records or a history of drug abuse were refused entrance after computers spotted them.

According to Qingdao authorities, the system has a 98.1 accuracy rate and sounds an alarm if a subject's face is found in the police database.

Six officers were stationed at each entrance to verify the matches.

Beer drinkers are just the latest targets of facial recognition in China, where the hardware has been installed at intersections in four cities to identify and shame jaywalkers.

Facial recognition is also being used by fast-food chain KFC to predict customers' orders, and at a public park in Beijing to foil toilet paper thieves.

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