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The Straits Times
20 March 2017
In a bid to stop toilet-paper thieves, a tourist attraction in Beijing has rolled out facial recognition for users of toilet paper.
Visitors to the loos at Beijing's Temple of Heaven, a cluster of temples that are a Unesco World Heritage Site, must now go through any of the six facial recognition machines installed there before they can get toilet paper, China's Legal Evening News said in a report on Sunday (March 19).
Some tourists who spotted the machines were heard asking: "What is this for?"
An employee stood on hand ready to explain and guide visitors with the use of the machines, which were installed in various toilets at the popular tourist attraction on Saturday (March 18).
This is how it works: Each person stands in a designated area, where the machines scan his or her face. When this is done, the machine will automatically dispense 60cm of toilet paper.
The installation of the machines led to a longer waiting time and queues, the Legal Evening News said. Some of the machines stopped working shortly after.
An employee told the Legal Evening News that many visitors tried using some of the faulty machines after they were installed on Saturday, but were unable to receive any toilet paper.
Some facilities have resorted to using hand-rolled toilet paper.
The Straits Times in early March cited the Beijing Evening News as saying that some visitors make multiple trips to the temples' toilets just to stash the paper in bags they bring along.
Videos of visitors gleefully pulling off long rolls of toilet paper had gone viral online.