Police detain 6,000 ahead of Expo

08:10, April 20, 2010      

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SHANGHAI - Police in Shanghai have caught some 6,000 people involved in street crimes such as thefts and prostitution during a 12-day special crackdown in preparation for the opening of the Expo.

The crackdown, which lasted from April 3 to 14, is the fourth of its kind in less than two months in a move by police to make the city safer during the upcoming Expo.

More than 30,000 police officers made more than 900 raids during the campaign, according to the city's public security bureau.

Of the 6,402 held, 429 are now under criminal detention - a measure that may lead to formal arrests and prosecution - on suspicion of theft, gambling, prostitution and selling pornographic materials. And 852 people are under administrative detention, facing a maximum term of 15 days, bureau officials said.

The others were released after being educated, according to the bureau.

The crackdown was focused on the areas around the Expo Park. A joint force from 16 police stations around the area was established to rein in traffic offenses, street crimes and potential fire hazards in and around the park.

During the campaign, police also cleared hawkers around Expo Park, such as those who importune visitors to take photos, and caught 26 people. About 10 of them are still under police custody.

In addition, more than 2,000 unlicensed motor-powered two wheelers, which have long been a potential traffic hazard in the city, were confiscated.

Among the more than 6,000 people caught by police are also some foreigners. Police in Xuhui district detained four foreigners in a pub on Fenyang Road on suspicion of being in the country illegally and of taking drugs.

Another 31 foreigners were caught on suspicion of being in the country illegally and of being employed in an illegal hotel in the neighborhood of Longbai in the city's Minhang district, police said.

But the police did not disclose how many foreigners are still in custody or have been released.

Police have strengthened patrols in major commercial areas, traffic junctions, travel sites and areas with high crime rates.

A special patrol team has been launched to check suspicious people and vehicles entering the Expo Park. By means of a photo match, eight suspects wanted online were arrested by the team during the campaign.

Changning district police have upped their vehicle patrol to 34 times a day from 15.

With the opening of the Expo only half a month away, Shanghai police are pulling out all the stops to step up the city's security, especially after a string of suicide bombings in Russia earlier this month, which killed at least 51. In addition to the campaigns to keep street crimes in check, police have taken a series of measures to beef up security.

Police announced a systematic security plan for the Expo in a news conference last week which ranges from public transportation safety controls to emergency back-up plans.

According to the plan, inspectors will be sent aboard every bus on all the Expo routes for security checks. X-ray scanning points have been set up at all of the 870 entrances to the 282 subway stations.

Source:China Daily


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