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October 26, 2016

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Chips are down in battle with bike thieves

A chip has come to the rescue of electric bike owners, fed up with having their vehicles stolen.

Residents in rural Shanghai’s Sijing Town have been beset by rising e-bike thefts. But in the past two weeks, about 1,000 residents have had a chip installed in their bikes — at no charge — as a government service.

If suspiciously removed, the chip should lead to the bike being quickly tracked and found. If successful, the service is expected to be offered elsewhere in Shanghai.

Wireless correlation of the chip into the e-bike owner’s WeChat account creates an identity for the bike that is then known to the police.

Police in Sijing, which is located in Songjiang District, told Shanghai Daily yesterday that 200 radars detecting movements of the chips will be in place within two weeks.

At 855 Sikai Road, one of the two venues for registration and installation of the service in the town, an employee surnamed Ding of BoCoom, the developer of the technology, was busy installing the chips in e-bikes yesterday afternoon.

Ding was working alone in a tent and bike owners were not allowed to watch. The chips are coated in white plastic cards roughly the size of credit cards and are placed in the bikes with thin black plastic wires. They are powered by batteries that theoretically last for five years.

“Under the seat, on the battery, I get to determine the safest and most secret spot for each bike, said Ding, adding that the chips could not be easily removed.

The chip marks the bike as “locked” once its owner, taking his mobile phone with him, is 10 meters away from his vehicle. If the bike is moved off its parking spot, police will then call the owner to check whether the bike is stolen, and if so, can track the bike via the chip.

Chen Liang, a resident of Zhongxiuyuan, had the chip installed on his bike. “I don’t even know where this chip is hiding in my bike myself, so I don’t expect any thief to guess it easily,” he said.

Zhu Jian, Sijing’s police chief, said this service was a battle cry to the bike thieves who had stolen more than 2,000 e-bikes from the town in the past two years.


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