When the police in one Chinese district warned residents to avoid malware by not to clicking on email links from sources they didn't recognize, maybe they were referring to themselves.

A police department in Wenzhou allegedly bought a coding machine and software used to infect jail-broken iPhones and Androids with trojans and which would allow them to monitor the citizens they're sworn to protect, according to a report in the Boston Globe

The purchases, which amounted to $24,000, appeared on the Wenzhou's Public Security Bureau's website but have since been removed.

While reports noted that Chinese citizens are accustomed to living in a high-surveillance state, the police department's spyware buys prompted some users to point out Article 286 China's criminal law that penalizing those who “deliberately make and spread disruptive programs such as computer viruses” with as much as five years in prison.