Well it looks like there really is an app for everything now. Chinese mobile phone application 滴滴打人 (Didi Da Ren) was reportedly being used to solicit the services of online mercenaries to dish out beatings—for a price.
Want China Times has revealed that users were able to post ads seeking a thug—mostly gym coaches, retired soldiers, gangsters and crooks, according to the app’s description.
The concept of the app came about from an online talk show gag, the report said. A satirical video shows the app’s premise in action, as a helpless nurse and schoolgirl enlist burly bodyguards to beat down on their tormentors. Disturbingly, it appears as if the joke may have actually become reality.
A Kunming reporter who placed a fake listing on the app to investigate was sent the phone number of a thug in Shanghai. The man claimed to be able to put anyone in hospital, and would adjust the price according to the degree of harm which was to be inflicted. He charged between 200-500 RMB (US$30-80) and required a photo of the victim and a time and place he could encounter them. The man’s services were to be booked two days in advance and payment could be made online after the job was done.
Apparently, arranged assaults weren’t the only illicit service being sought after on the app. A screenshot shows a listing looking for a paid one-night-stand hook up.
While it has since been removed from app stores, Qihoo 360’s website reported that it had been downloaded 40,000 times from their platform alone.
The company which developed the app (Changsha Zhang Kong Information Technology Limited) insists it was never intended to be used for organised illegal activities and they have instructed staff to manually delete any ads for contract beatings.
When all it takes is a mobile phone and internet connection to have somebody beaten up, it’s no wonder that Chinese mobile phone apps are becoming a hotbed of crime. A prostitution bust in Hong Kong revealed how social media app WeChat had become a den of debauchery, with the “People Nearby” function being used to search for clients.
By Liam Bourke