A Chinese woman, horrified to find her ride-sharing driver masturbating at the wheel, filmed him as evidence.
But unexpectedly, the woman ended up being held in police custody for three days.
The incident occurred in Shengzhou, eastern China on Apr. 23. Chinese reports say the woman, surnamed Wang, got into a car she hailed via the Didi Chuxing app.
She noticed her driver, named Xu, was making “vulgar” motions around his pants with his free hand while driving, and decided to film it as evidence for a complaint she later submitted to Didi Chuxing, the country’s largest ride-hailing firm.
She also sent the video to friends via WeChat, and the video started spreading after a colleague circulated it to more friends.
When Shengzhou police were alerted to the footage, they ended up prosecuting the driver, as well as Wang and her colleague who helped make the footage go viral.
Xu, the driver, admitted to masturbating in front of Wang, and was placed in detention for eight days.
Wang and her colleague, Qian, were also detained for three days, under the charge of spreading pornographic imagery.
“As Wang and her colleague Qian privately spread vulgar and pornographic imagery, they were deemed to have broken the law,” police told The Paper. “After being educated by local police, the two have recognised that they were wrong, and their remorse was taken into consideration.”
Lawyers that spoke to The Paper said that those who spread or create pornography could be detained for a period of five to 15 days, and, or fined 500 yuan ($72.54).
Weibo users were outraged at the punishment meted out to Wang and Qian.
TianBoXue said: “Why the hell would this be considered a pornographic video? It’s evidence!
NewMediaDog: “Well if it’s evidence, why don’t you send it to the police, instead of spreading it around?
TianBoXue: “You must be really dumb if you think that a tape documenting sexual harassment is pornography. Just shut up.”
GiveMeTheChanceToMakeYouHappy: “If I’m afraid that evidence I filmed will be erased, I will definitely send it to someone else! This way, other people might still keep it.”
Didi said in response to Mashable‘s queries that Xu, the driver, has been fined and permanently banned from driving for the platform.
“We made contact with Ms. Wang upon hearing about her experience,” a spokesperson said. “From our internal investigation, Mr. Xu registered as a Didi driver with a complete set of authentic identifications and his criminal record was clean.”
Didi added that the company has added a passenger SOS button, and the ability to share travel itinerary with friends, after a male driver was allegedly involved in a murder of a female passenger in May last year. “We will keep reviewing our protocols to enhance passengers’ safety on our platform,” the spokesperson said.
UPDATE: May 3, 2017, 6:09 p.m. SGT Updated with Didi’s statement.