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Want toilet paper? Scan your face first

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BEIJING: In a bid to stop toilet-paper thieves, a tourist attraction in Beijing has rolled out facial recognition machines for users of its toilets.

Visitors to the loos at Beijing's Temple of Heaven, a cluster of temples that form a Unesco World Heritage Site, must now go through one of the six machines installed there before they can get toilet paper, China's Legal Evening News reported on Sunday.

Some tourists who spotted the machines were heard asking: "What is this for?"

An employee stood on hand ready to explain and guide visitors on how to use the machines, which were installed in various toilets at the popular tourist attraction on Saturday.

This is how it works: Each person stands in a designated area, where the machines scan his or her face.

When this is done, the machine will automatically dispense 60cm of toilet paper.

The installation of the machines led to longer waiting times and queues, the Legal Evening News said. Some of the machines stopped working shortly after.

An employee said that many visitors tried using some of the faulty machines after they were installed, but were unable to receive any toilet paper.

Some facilities have resorted to using hand-rolled toilet paper.

Earlier this month, The Straits Times cited the Beijing Evening News as saying that some visitors make multiple trips to the temples' toilets just to stash the paper in bags they bring along.

Videos of visitors gleefully pulling off long rolls of toilet paper had gone viral online.