Police in China are offering cash and other rewards to encourage the country's millions of Internet users to help solve criminal investigations, state media said Saturday.
Authorities in the far-western region of Xinjiang this month posted a photo of a crime scene on the Internet alongside a reward of 500 to 5,000 yuan (75 to 750 dollars) in cash or so-called QQ coin for information about the case, the China Daily said.
QQ coin is a form of currency that registered users of the popular instant messaging service QQ use to pay for virtual products such as games.
While the reward scheme has yet to yield any useful clues, authorities said it was a good way to tap the country's vast online population -- the world's biggest at more than 420 million.
"Police have to keep up with the times and it is both necessary and helpful to mix traditional investigation methods with modern information tools and platforms," an unidentified public security official was quoted as saying.
"We believe it gives us a broader range of help by counting on netizens, such as QQ users, simply because there are so many of them."
Police in the eastern province of Jiangsu had more success with their online offer last month of 10,000 yuan or equivalent QQ coin for information about a case.
A week after the appeal was posted, an online user contacted police and identified the suspect as his friend.
Explore further: Twitpic to stay alive with new owner