Eight years ago the world was momentarily entertained by images of armed Chinese ‘Segway’ divisions performing what was said to be an anti-terrorist drill in Shandong province during the run-up to the Beijing Olympics.

The crew was panned by critics worldwide, who pointed out that the recoil from discharging a weapon on the knock-off Segways would probably send them flying backwards, not to mention the obvious issue of pursuing a criminal capable of climbing stairs.

While the show of force wasn’t as intimidating as probably intended, it did make one thing very clear: China’s crime-stoppers are not afraid to look a little silly in the pursuit of hi-tech policing.

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Cate Cadell

Cate is a tech writer. She worked as a journalist in Australia, Mongolia and Myanmar. You can reach her (in Chinese or English) at: @catecadell or catecadell@technode.com