A video of a Norwegian man pleading Chengdu residents for help has circulated on Chinese video-sharing sites, drawing sharp reactions from commenters.
In the video, a man identifies himself as Oscar and says he came to Chengdu to study Chinese. He then explains that he is making the video because he needs help as his computer, cameras, and tuition fees of RMB10,000 had been stolen one night while he had gone out to dinner. Halfway through the video, his Chinese friend appears on camera next to China to translate the story.
By late February, a West China City Daily reporter had tracked down the by-then-notorious Oscar and interviewed him.
Oscar had been on a journey around the world and after visiting 15 countries he decided to stop in China to study. In early February he rented a two-bedroom flat in the Jinyuan Apartments on Jinxiu Jie.
On the afternoon of February 19, he withdrew RMB10,000 from the bank for his tuition fees and put the cash in a drawer in his room. That night, he went out for one hour to eat dinner, and when he returned he found that the money and his electronics were gone. However, nothing else in the apartment was out of place — as if the thief already knew where the valuables were.
He estimates the value of his losses at RMB30,000.
The apartment complex Oscar lives in has two gates, and anybody can enter freely. In the past several months, there have been a few incidents of theft in the area. Around 500 residents live in the complex; most are renters, some on a monthly basis and others on a daily basis.
A photo published alongside the article, of Oscar pointing to the window, is helpfully captioned "The thief might have entered through the window" and another photo of Oscar pointing to a trap door in the ceiling between the doors of the apartments on the floor is captioned, "Oscar doubts that the thief entered through here."
After filing a report with the police he decided to make the video to implore for help.
Within a day of its posting to video-sharing site Youku, the video received 1,500 comments, some ridiculing and others questioning whether the police force would use heavy resources in attempting to help what they viewed as a petty "foreign traveler problem."
Wuhan police were criticized recently for spending three days searching for a missing bicycle that belonged to a Japanese traveler who was cycling around the world. Critics said that the police force were inappropriately selective in their choosing which cases to focus on.