Inmates if Chinese hard labour camps are being put to work farming gold in online games.
According to thinq_ prisoners at the Jixi labour camp in Heilongjiang Province have been forced to play massively multi-player on-line games like the popular World of Warcraft - not as a reward, but in order to generate in-game currency through the 'farming' of rare items.
One ex-prisoner claims that, following the completion of their manual labour tasks each day, prisoners would be herded into a room and made to gather gold for sale to gamers - a conversion process that could earn prison guards more than £500 a day.
Gold farming is the bane of many hard-core gamers with randomly-spawned items appearing rarely, and often being snapped up by far-east gangs making them even harder to find.
Many games like World of Warcraft have complex economies based on the sale of items which become unstable when the gold farmers move in.
The prison in question, which is far from unique according to the report, has as many as 300 prisoners grinding away at any given time.