Haidilao patron arrested for hacking Wi-Fi, broadcasting porn

1 min read

Chinese police have arrested a man suspected of hacking the Wi-Fi at a branch of popular food chain Haidilao to broadcast pornographic videos to the company’s customers, our sister site TechNode Chinese reports.

Law enforcement in Wuhan, capital of the central Chinese province of Hubei, announced on Jan. 11 the arrest of a 28-year-old man surnamed Liang, saying he used his smartphone to hack the hotpot restaurant’s Wi-Fi.

Haidilao is famous in China for its hospitable service. Due to its popularity, customers are often required to line up for hours to get a table at one of its restaurants.

On Jan. 5, a television at a Haidilao branch in Wuhan unexpectedly switched from ads to pornographic videos, according to customers who were dining at the restaurant. Waiters turned off the device and later reported the case to the police. Posts about the incident went viral on Chinese microblogging platform Weibo, garnering almost 14 million views as of 3 p.m. on Monday.

Haidilao was not immediately available for comment.

The suspect also allegedly broadcasted similar videos at a karaoke bar after connecting to the institution’s network using Wi-Fi sharing app Guanjia, according to Wuhan Evening News.

In a letter of apology published on Weibo, Haidilao vowed to enhance its cybersecurity standards and conduct a company-wide check of its internet-connected television systems.

As a mobile-first market, Wi-Fi sharing services have become popular in China. With the boom of mobile content services, including live-streaming and short-video platforms, Chinese netizens have become dependant on free Wi-Fi hotspots available at restaurants, shops, airports, and railway stations.

Apart from Wi-Fi Guanjia, free service Wi-Fi Master Key is also popular. According to its website, developer LinkSure Network gives more than over 900 million users access to the internet in 200 countries and regions, with 520 million monthly active users.