This is just an incredible story. The Guardian reports that Chinese prisoners in labour camps are being forced to put in 12 hour World of Warcraft gold farming shifts in a lucrative scam being run by prison guards.
Apparently this was in addition to grinding manual labour they were forced to do during regular work hours.
"Prison bosses made more money forcing inmates to play games than they do forcing people to do manual labour," claimed Liu Dali, a source quoted by The Guardian. "There were 300 prisoners forced to play games. We worked 12-hour shifts in the camp. I heard them say they could earn 5000-6000rmb ($800-900) a day. We didn't see any of the money. The computers were never turned off."
Apparently each prisoner had a specific work quota. If that quota wasn't met, the prisoners would be physically punished.
"If I couldn't complete my work quota, they would punish me physically. They would make me stand with my hands raised in the air and after I returned to my dormitory they would beat me with plastic pipes. We kept playing until we could barely see things," said Liu.
It's an incredible story, and indicative of just how extensive and lucrative gold farming is.
China used prisoners in lucrative internet gaming work [The Guardian]
Thanks to David Olsen for the heads up.