River robberies are increasing between the Sanshui and Nanhai sections of the Beijiang River.
"There have been one or more such robberies each day," Nanfang Metropolis Daily quoted a vessel owner surnamed Li, as saying.
"River robberies have taken place from time to time, however, now they are more frequent.
"At least 100 robberies have been reported a month in the past two months," Li said.
On Nov 15, boatmen plying the river reported four members of a family were killed by robbers, but police said they had drowned, Li said.
Their deaths led to a protest at the weekend. Thirty cargo vessels blocked the Sanshui stretch of the river.
The protest was later broken up by marine authorities.
Li said he had also encountered robbers armed with axes in Sanshui last month.
"They took our money, and almost anything that was removable. They generally strike between 1 am and 5 am.
"They operate in gangs of four to six people. The gangs
are particularly interested in the motors and dynamos of big vessels," he said.
A press official surnamed Ou, with the Foshan public security bureau's Sanshui branch, acknowledged the recent spate in robberies.
"We have seen a surge in robbery reports on the river in the past two months," he told China Daily yesterday.
"We are working on countermeasures," he said.
These might include increasing river patrols and boosting police presence in the areas targeted by the robbers, Ou said.
(China Daily November 25, 2008)