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Regulation to curb bike theft
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Chinese bike makers will start to place serial numbers on their products from Dec. 1 this year, in an effort to thwart bicycle thieves.

Each bike, including electrically powered ones, will have its unique 15-digit code, including producer's code, type code, production date and individual serial number, according to the regulation on bikes code issued by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.

Every new bike, produced after Dec. 1, will have a form with its serial number and identities of its buyer, printed by producers and filled in by dealers.

The dealers are also required to submit the form to the police who will input the information into databases to facilitate the finding of owners of the stolen bicycles.

The regulation requires bike producers to engrave the code on the frame, rather than using a licence plate, which can more easily be stolen.

The move has drawn a mixed response from the public. Ao En, assistant manager in Stinelly Coffee, Beijing Co., Ltd, believes that more people will choose to use bicycles again with the fast development of Beijing's subway system.

"It's more convenient for people to ride to subway stations than traveling in their cars, so the demand for bicycles will rise in the future,and the new measure is destined to be well received, " she said.

However, this measure to combat bike theft got a cold shoulder from many.

"Used bikes will account for a fairly large proportion on the road, so how will we guarantee they will not be stolen?" said Chen Hui, a staffer of the State Grain Administration.

"And nowadays many people are more willing to buy second-hand bicycles instead of new ones, because they won't lose much if they were stolen," said Chen. "What's more, the new regulation will make it pretty complicated for people to sell their used bikes."

(Xinhua News Agency November 1, 2007)

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