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Police say 88 suspects in Lhasa violence still at large
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Police are still searching for 88 suspects who were heavily involved in the March 14 riot in downtown Lhasa, a public security official said on Friday.

"We have sufficient evidence against 170 people, 82 of whom have been formally arrested, but the remaining 88 are still at large," the vice director of Lhasa's public security bureau, Jiang Zaiping, said at a press conference.

He declined to give details on the evidence or the legal proceedings against those arrested.

Of the 82 arrested, Jiang said 11 had surrendered to police.

To date, 365 suspects in the riot have surrendered to police, of whom at least 328 were freed because of the minor nature of their offenses and willingness to cooperate in the police investigation, said Jiang.

"The absolute majority of the suspects have pled guilty, and many of them were cheated or pressured into the smashing, beating, looting and arson. Some turned in their collaborators," he said.

Many citizens in Lhasa also provided clues to help the investigation. "Some helped police identify the suspects and others even accompanied investigators to the suspects' possible hideouts," said Jiang.

He said Lhasa has basically restored social order and promised that his department will strive to fight crime and make the citizens feel safer.

In the latest move to speed up the city's reconstruction, the municipal government earmarked 1 million yuan (143,000 U.S. dollars) to build new homes for the 59 people whose houses on the downtown East Beijing Road were burned down by mobs.

These people, in 10 families, are expected to move into their new homes in October, a government spokesman said on Friday.

(Xinhua News Agency April 18, 2008)

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