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Overseas Gangs Blamed for Rising Crime Rate
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Overseas criminal syndicates are behind the rise in gang-related crime, the Ministry of Public Security said yesterday.

Evidence shows that more foreign underworld organizations are entering China, Du Hangwei, deputy director of the ministry's criminal investigation bureau, said at a press briefing in Beijing.

And gangs from neighboring areas such as the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions are also trying to make illegal profits on the mainland, according to the ministry.

"Gang-related crime is on the rise in China, as society is going through tremendous economic and social changes," Du said.

He reiterated that no mercy would be shown to criminals, "no matter where they come from."

In February the ministry launched an on-going crackdown on gang-related crime, and so far officers have received more than 3,700 tip offs from members of the public through phone calls, letters and e-mails.

Figures released yesterday show that 1,013 gang-related crimes are currently under investigation, with 28 cases transferred to prosecutors.

About 30 criminals have received jail terms of more than five years, life imprisonment or the death penalty.

But the ministry would not reveal the number of cases involving foreign gangs, or whether there had been any international co-operation in fighting them.

The biggest case brought to trial was in Loudi, in Central China's Hunan Province, last month. Up to 100 suspected gangsters appeared, accused of more than 20 crimes, including murder, drug trafficking and abduction.

A preliminary ruling has not yet been reached as the case is very completed, according to local prosecutors.

"Some corrupted officials were collaborating with the criminals and offering them protection, which makes our investigation even harder," Du said.

As the clampdown continues throughout China the ministry has urged local public security bureaus to intensify police patrols at entertainment venues, restaurants and wholesale markets where gang-related crimes often take place.

Leaders of local public security bureaus face dismissal if criminal gangs in their localities are crushed through reports to the ministry instead of through their own efforts, the ministry warned.

(China Daily May 26, 2006)

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