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Police say 36 held for looting in quake ruins
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Police in southwest China's quake-hit Sichuan Province have arrested 36 people for looting, local authorities said yesterday.

The looters stole electronic appliances and furniture from shops and houses destroyed by the May 12 earthquake in Beichuan County, one of the worst-hit, as residents swarmed back to save their possessions under the debris.

Most of the looters were residents of neighboring townships and were arrested after police traced the looted properties, Beijing News reported.

Local police found three computers, five television sets, three refrigerators and a large amount of furniture in the house of a resident surnamed Xu in Qushan Town, according to the report.

More than 1,000 netizens voiced their indignation at the Tencent Forum, one of the country's most popular Websites, hours after the news was released.

"It is immoral and illegal to loot after the earthquake," said a netizen named "Class One." "Definitely they should be arrested and severely punished."

Beichuan used to be home to more than 12,000 people, but only half of them survived the quake.

All survivors have been relocated.

The county was sealed off on May 20 for disease control and reopened a month later. It was closed again early on Thursday because of concerns of an epidemic.

(Xinhua News Agency June 29, 2008) 

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