A woman accused of refusing to pay for taxi rides or outstanding hotel bills has been detained in Shaanxi province, local police said on Sunday.
The woman, identified only as Yang from Xi'an, was initially captured on video by a taxi driver as she skipped out on a fare. The driver later posted it on a short-video platform.
Other taxi drivers recognized Yang in the video and came forward to identify her, stating that she had done the same thing to them.
Hotel workers in the area also noticed her in the video and complained that she had stayed at their establishments without paying. She also had not compensated the hotels for damaging items including bed sheets and duvet covers, some said.
Xi'an police confirmed Yang's detention with China Daily on Sunday, saying that the accusations are under investigation.
The police also appealed to the public to contact them with any relevant information.
According to the taxi driver's video, Yang refused to pay her fare after taking a long ride at night and arriving at her destination, claiming that she had no money. The taxi meter showed that the fare was 135 yuan ($19).
After the video was released online, the woman posted several videos responding to the incident. In those videos, she repeatedly insulted the driver, claiming that she didn't pay because he was incompetent and bragged that she had become "an internet celebrity "because of the incident.
Yang's account on the video platform has since been suspended.
According to reports from the Shaanxi Broadcasting Corporation, the driver who posted the video, surnamed Zhang, said Yang hailed his taxi in mid-July and would not pay after arriving at her destination. He said he tried to persuade her to pay, but she refused. He then called the police.
"The police responded and checked her WeChat account for money, but no money was found," Zhang told the SBC. He ultimately left without being paid.
After the video was posted, many local cab drivers commented that Yang had also refused to pay them.
A cab driver surnamed Feng said she took a ride with him in March last year, and refused to pay her 80-yuan fare.
"She said she had no money and asked me to buy her a meal. I saw she spoke unreasonably and illogically and asked her to leave, without collecting the fee," he recalled, adding that some of his peers had said they had a similar experience with her. Some reported her to the police.
The incident has stirred up drivers' anger and has also attracted public attention.
On Thursday, Xi'an police asked taxi drivers who believed they were victimized by Yang to file a report with them to assist in their investigation. The Xi'an Taxi Management Office also issued a notice on Thursday to encourage drivers to share any evidence they have and vowed to crack down on similar cases.