Police officers caught two burglary suspects in an earthquake-hit town in Sichuan Province, People's Daily reported on its Website yesterday.
People have been reported looting goods and cash from the rubble in Chaping Town, from where most residents were evacuated after the May 12 earthquake, which flattened 95 percent of the buildings in town.
Chaping residents asked the government to send in more police to crack down on burglaries and to keep their hometown safe.
A task force of six officers set off on five-and-a-half-hour rocky trek to Chaping last Wednesday, and patrolled the town's major streets and buildings. Two suspects were discovered and two hauls of stolen goods were found, the report said.
Meanwhile, a farmer from Mianzhu in Sichuan has been jailed for seven and a half years after being convicted of stealing 19,388 yuan (US$2,800) worth of cash and valuables from the earthquake rubble on June 3.
Mao Fanglin's sentence is much longer than the standard three or four-year jail sentence for theft.
Police officers stopped Mao on May 16 and found jewelry, cigarettes and cash in his bag. Mao confessed he found the items in the rubble of collapsed homes in Shifang City - one of the worst-hit areas in the earthquake.
People engaged in crimes during disasters may face heavier punishment, according to amendments to China's criminal law.
(Shanghai Daily July 14, 2008)