CHINA> Society
Man accidentally hands himself in
By Huang Zhiling and Wang Wei (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-09-04 07:58

CHENGDU: Zhang Tianping, whose name is on the police's most wanted list for providing technical support to an infamous software hacker, was arrested here last month, local media said Wednesday.

Zhang, the boss of an IT company, went to the Chengdu police bureau accompanied by his lawyer to enquire about the penalties for intellectual property infringement, the West China Metropolis Daily reported.

"Zhang Tianping's arrest was accidental," Li Dang, a police officer said.

According to the report, Zhang and his lawyer visited the bureau on the morning of Aug 22 to ask whether or not pirating technology for a non-profitable purpose was considered a copyright infringement, Li said.

His questions brought to mind the 2003 case involving that caused ructions in the IT sector, Li said.

That year, university graduate Hong Lei launched the site that offered free downloads of Microsoft's Windows XP software, which had been modified without the firm's authorization.

Jiangsu police arrested Hong on Aug 15 after Microsoft accused him of copyright violation. Zhang's name was placed on the wanted list for providing the website with servers and other support.

Zhang was alarmed at Hong's arrest, even though his Chengdu Hongguo Science and Technology Company had not profited from the illicit downloads.

Wary of becoming involved in the case, he closed the company and disappeared.

By providing a platform for free downloads, however, Zhang's company generated hits on Tomatolei that raised its income, thus breaking the law, police said.

The website is reported to have earned more than 100,000 yuan ($14,600) a month from advertising.

Officers Li and Xie became suspicious when Zhang looked nervous at the mention of Tomatolei. They checked the computer and found Zhang's name on the wanted list.

Li called Jiangsu police, who were coincidentally in Chengdu searching for Zhang. The two officers then kept Zhang talking for the one hour it took Jiangsu police to arrive and arrest him.

Most computers sold on the street, and around 10 million nationwide, are installed with the modified version of Windows from Tomatolei, Su Lei, a local computer dealer said.