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Special Police to Patrol City Streets
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More than 500 special armed police will patrol the streets of Guangzhou in the second half of the year in an attempt to tackle the problem of street crime in the southern metropolis.

The special police force will mainly patrol commercial streets, railway stations, scenic spots, shopping centers and other busy areas with high crime rates, security officials said.

"Priority will be given to fighting criminal gangs, organized crime and armed robbery," said Wu Sha, director of Guangzhou Municipal Bureau of Public Security.

It is the first time Guangzhou has deployed special police to patrol the city's streets.

Wu urged intelligence departments to collect more information about suspects to aid front line police.

"The special armed police will work with plainclothes police to ensure good social order in the modern metropolis," Wu added.

The majority of police on the city's streets are plainclothes, and the number will increase to around 1,000 from the current 300 by the end of the year.

Guangzhou has around 60,000 police, while Guangdong Province has about 150,000 police, the largest police force in the country.

Guangzhou's first plainclothes police department was formally established on March 16 this year.

The force had detained 417 suspects after busting 32 criminal gangs and groups by the end of last month.

Plainclothes police contributed to a year-on-year 23.25 per cent reduction of street robbery cases in Guangzhou in the first half of this year.

Many local residents have welcomed increased police patrols in the city, which is enjoying rapid economic growth but struggling with a high crime rate.

Cui Xiaolan, an office worker, said: "I believed the move will deter criminals."

Cui said her mobile phone had been stolen three times in the past six months.

In another development, authorities have announced that police will shoot suspects who resist arrest or threaten the lives of police officers.

Plainclothes police shot a purse-snatcher in the city's Panyu District late last week.

The case took place at about 6 pm last Friday when two suspects riding on their motorbike robbed a woman in Shiqiao Township.

Police immediately shot at the two suspects when they resisted arrest, hitting one in the leg. This enabled police to arrest the two suspects.

(China Daily July 10, 2006)

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