Fri, Nov 02, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Economic crimes on the rise in China, police say

POLICE REPORT Credit card and bank card fraud is soaring, while murder and kidnapping are down. Meanwhile, an anti-terror drill was held in Shanghai

AGENCIES , BEIJING AND SHANGHAI

Economic crimes in China are rising fast, led by credit card fraud and cases of fake or shoddy goods, although violent crime generally continues to fall, a police spokesman said yesterday.

Blaming China's booming economy, rising incomes and deepening ties with the outside world, Wu Heping (吳和平) said that people needed to be much more cautious in using automated teller machines and on-line banking and in giving out personal information.

Credit card fraud cases alone jumped almost one-third in the first half of the year, with criminals netting 44.6 million yuan (US$5.98 million), Wu told a news conference.

"The police have all along actively attacked these cases, and investigated and broken some large, influential ones," he said.

"People using bank cards abroad must pay special attention, only using them in proper shops, and must never let the card leave your line of sight," Wu said.

The problem was particularly acute in Shanghai, Fujian Province and Xinjiang, he said.

In the first nine months there was also a year-on-year rise of one quarter in incidents of fake or substandard goods, he said.

But Wu said with other crimes mostly lower, social stability was good. Murders dropped by one-tenth in the first half, and the kidnap and sale of women and children dropped by the same level.

With the Beijing Olympics less than one year away, the government is taking no chances with security or on-going worries about how to improve people's behavior in public.

Another official explained a new law on large-scale events, which has been in force for the last month and seeks to improve safety and "public order" at sports matches, concerts and similar activities.

It bans "humiliating slogans," attacks on players and referees and events that "run counter to public morals," like sex shows.

"China is a courteous nation, and thousands of years of traditional culture have seeped down into public morality. Almost all the people respect them," said Ma Weiya (馬維亞), vice director of the police social security management department.

Officials in Shanghai held an anti-terrorist drill in the Yangshan Deep-Water Port on Wednesday. The exercise involved a gang of five "terrorists" hiding in shipping containers, Xinhua news agency said. A simulated attack was carried out and the "terrorists" were soon captured by police.

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