A woman in eastern China abruptly foiled an Airbnb “Superhost’s” plan to secretly film her stay thanks to her impressive detective work.
The woman, identified only as Yunfei, arrived at the Airbnb flat in Qingdao, Shandong province on Wednesday night, Beijing Youth Daily reported.
The guest’s suspicions began as soon as she noticed a motion sensor at the entrance. Shortly, she discovered more in the bedrooms.
“I found a motion sensor monitor at the flat’s entrance and two in the two bedrooms, which is odd since the flat had not been renovated for smart-home automation,” she said, according to the South China Morning Post.
Now suspicious, Yunfei turned the sensors to face the wall and covered them with stickers.
She moved on to check the television, smoke detectors, power adapters and socket holes — spots where hidden cameras are usually set up.
Yunfei then shifted her attention to the router facing the bed. Interestingly, the device emitted a strange light, so she decided to examine it more closely.
To confirm her suspicions, she sent a photo of the router to friends on a WeChat group. They suggested that she compare the product in hand with a picture of the same router available on the internet.
After noticing alterations, Yunfei finally unscrewed the object and found a digital memory card hidden within. She alerted the police at once.
“I immediately called the police after finding the card. They came and took away the equipment,” she said.
Yunfei did not return to the flat, which has since been removed from Airbnb’s listing. The owner, a “Superhost” — a model host with top-tier ratings — was ordered to serve 20 days in detention and pay 500 yuan ($74) in fines.
Speaking to Beijing Youth Daily, Yunfei revealed that she actually works in information security and has learned how to spot hidden cameras after privacy protection training. She never met the Superhost but decided to rent the place after finding good reviews.
Airbnb has since refunded her 1,700 yuan ($250) payment for the three-night stay at the flat. The company also “sincerely apologized” for the incident.
“This kind of punishment cannot solve the problem.”
“So the victim got a sorry, while the police got 500 yuan.”
“Just 500 yuan?! What kind of eggs are used here? This crime is too cheap.”
“As an Airbnb host, this kind of person is a disgrace and insult to others in the business.”
“Women who live alone must always be prepared — doorstop, burglar and smoke alarms must be installed.”