Police in eastern China's Hangzhou City detained a group of alleged thieves including 13 HIV carriers Monday.
One suspect said they had contracted the virus on purpose to avoid being captured by threatening to pass the virus to their victims.
On Nov. 15, patrol police captured three men in a local market. All of them said they were HIV carriers. Two were later confirmed to be carriers.
The three suspects allegedly confessed to belonging to a large burglary ring and most of its members had caught the virus through drug injection. Police later caught another 26 members.
One of the members told police that they had purposely injected themselves to contract AIDS to scare away police.
So far, 13 of the suspects have been confirmed as HIV carriers while others were found to have hepatitis-B and tuberculosis.
Some had been captured before but police let them go each time because they were HIV carriers.
Police sources said the group had been involved in crime in the city since 1999 and were involved in at least 600 cases. Less than 100 of these were reported by the victims.
They are now in police custody in groups. Police have opened special cells and purchased daily necessities for them.
(Xinhua News Agency November 25, 2003)