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Economic crimes rise in first 9 months
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Economic crimes in China increased 7.2 percent during the first nine months of the year to 59,000 cases, a spokesman for the Ministry of Public Security said on Thursday.

"A total of 2,036 crimes involved production of fraudulent and shoddy products, up 25.7 percent from the same period of 2006," said ministry spokesman Wu Heping.

A total of 6,187 financial fraud cases and 744 smuggling cases, up 15.9 percent and 13.8 percent respectively, were also reported. Intellectual property rights piracy cases reached 1,758, up 7.6 percent.

Wu said special attention needed to be paid to the sharp rise in credit card fraud. In the first half of the year, credit card fraud cases in China grew 29 percent to 1,171 and involved 4.46 million yuan (about US$602,000).

He said criminals were frequently found installing monitoring equipment at automatic teller machines (ATM) to steal account numbers and passwords. They then made fake cards to withdraw money.

They were also found using spy software or in setting up fake websites of financial institutions or banks to fish for credit card account numbers and passwords.

Wu advised the public to check their credit card accounts regularly and to use the cards carefully, especially when making online purchases or doing bank transfers on the Internet.

In the first nine months, China reported 3.38 million criminal cases, close to the number over the same period of 2006.

Wu said that in addition to economic crimes, the number of theft cases increased 1.6 percent to 2.29 million.

In other criminal categories over the first nine months, homicide was down 10.1 percent, rape decreased 1.4 percent and kidnapping dropped 1.6 percent compared with figures from last year. Explosion decreased 24.9 percent, while arson and robbery was down 9.5 percent and 7.5 percent respectively.

(Xinhua News Agency November 1, 2007)

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