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Ministry vows tough line on crime gangs

Zhang Yangfei
Updated: Dec 7,2018 7:07 AM     China Daily

Chinese police have cracked 1.18 million cases of theft, robbery and fraud since the beginning of the year and retrieved property worth 6.56 billion yuan ($951 million) for members of the public, the Ministry of Public Security announced on Dec 6.

The ministry will continue to enhance the investigative capacity of police and take multiple measures to beef up their strength to crack down on such crimes across the country, said Chen Shiqu, deputy director of the ministry’s Criminal Investigation Bureau.

“All local public security bureaus around the country will closely monitor the criminal situation and crack it whenever they discover one,” he said, adding that the ministry will team up with local bureaus to track down some of the country’s major cross-regional criminal gangs.

A new crackdown targeting telecommunication and online crimes kicked off this month and will run to the end of next year, ministry spokesman Guo Lin said.

Theft, robbery and fraud are the most common crimes, Chen said. Due to the development of the internet, fast and convenient communication channels, and the prevalence of mobile payment, crimes have undergone some major changes, becoming more cross-regional and professional, he said.

The majority of such crimes are committed serially and by syndicates instead of individuals. They gather by location and kinship and spread their criminal methods across the country, seriously undermining public security, he said.

In cyberspace, new types of crime have begun to pop up where criminals don’t necessarily have to make physical contact with victims, in contrast to some traditional ones such as street scams.

A large criminal syndicate busted recently by Chinese police, involving sales of fake medicines and overseas medical care worth about 1 billion yuan ($145 million), is one of the new types of criminal enterprises that have sprung up in recent years, Chen said.

Police detained 132 suspects after cracking more than 2,000 cases involving the syndicate, froze 700 million yuan and seized more than 3,000 boxes of fake drugs.

The syndicate, registered as a biotechnology company in Dalian, Liaoning province, used an agent network of beauty salons across the country to lure victims abroad with offers of free luxury trips and medical checkups.

Its sales staff, disguised as certified doctors and medical professors from the United States, diagnosed the tourists with cancer and talked them into buying a cancer drug called “Cancer Shield”, which was priced from 98,000 ($14,200) to 398,000 yuan and labeled as being produced in the US.

The drug, seized by the police, was found to be a domestically produced placebo that cost no more than a few hundred yuan.

“Criminals today are using more complicated methods and becoming better hidden, which adds more difficulties to our investigation,” Chen said.

“But no matter how they change their methods, public security bodies will unswervingly adhere to strict law enforcement and strengthen our force in cracking down on theft, robbery and fraud to protect our people’s property.”