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Border Police Arrest 2,500 Stowaways
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China's border police arrested nearly 2,500 Chinese stowaways from July last year to this June, preventing them from illegally stealing across national borders, said an official of the Ministry of Public Security on Tuesday.

Chen Weiming, director of the border administration of the Ministry of Public Security, said at a news conference that border police arrested 1,334 stowaways in the last half of 2005 and 1,125 stowaways in the first half of 2006, down 15 percent and 28 percent respectively from the figures of the same period of previous years.

He said police along China's 22,000-km land borders and in coastal areas are on constant guard against citizens who illegally cross borders.

In 2005, border police busted 4,475 attempts at drug smuggling, arrested 5,071 suspects and seized 4.53 tons of drugs. In the first half of this year border police cracked 1,968 drug smuggling cases, 2,043 criminal suspects and seized 1.87 tons of drugs.

Chen said since July last year border police also cracked 2,500 other smuggle cases involving 240 million yuan.

"Border police also effectively stemmed Chinese citizens crossing borders for gambling and logging, and persuaded fishers not to fish in other country's seas," said Chen.

China shares 22,000 km of land borders with 14 neighboring countries, and has more than 18,000 km of continental coastline.

When answering the question if the open of the Nathu La Pass between China and India would bring both prosperous bilateral trade and high frequency of crimes, such as smuggling, children and women trafficking and illegal border crossing, Chen said the public security situation at the pass was so far so good.

"Border police will continue to maintain social stability of the Nathu La Pass and help promote bilateral trade," said Chen.

China and India restarted border trade on July 6 through the Nathu La Pass, which sits 4,545 meters above sea level, 44 years after a border conflict.

At the news conference, Chen also said police have seized 881 fugitive criminals at borders since last July. And the number of criminal cases from last July to this June at border areas had dropped by 4.5 percent from the same period of previous years.

Chen said since last July, border police cracked 3,855 criminal cases according to the clues provided by local citizens and tackled 10,502 public security cases.

"Therefore, the public feeling of safety has been increased at the border areas," Chen said.

He said that since last July, the country's maritime police have saved 257 boats and 1,324 victims in sea mishaps, avoiding more than 50 million yuan of economic losses.

(Xinhua News Agency July 19, 2006)

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