China / Society

Gang activity in Guangdong poses 'serious threat'

By Zheng Caixiong in Guangzhou (China Daily) Updated: 2015-07-10 07:50

Gang activity in Guangdong poses 'serious threat'

A police officer shows rifles that were seized in the fight against violent gangs in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, at a news conference on Thursday. Qian Wenpan / for China Daily

A senior police officer is urging cities and counties in Guangdong province to establish task forces to fight violent gangs involved in drugs, crime, counterfeiting and vote-buying in local elections.

Task forces headed by top local police officers will act as "daggers into the hearts of the gangs" in the province's rural areas, said Lin Weixiong, director of the Criminal Investigation Bureau under the Guangdong Provincial Department of Public Security.

"The gangs that have become active in some areas have posed a serious threat to grassroots governments and organizations via vote-buying and other illegal means to interfere with township and village elections in the southern province of Guangdong," Lin said on Thursday at a news conference in Guangzhou, the provincial capital.

In addition to crimes involving drugs and robberies, the gangs active in the rural districts, counties, townships and villages have been involved in fraud, illegal fundraising, producing and selling counterfeits, running casinos, and generally harming the interests of residents and villagers, Lin said.

The gangs have been using violence to monopolize local markets and have been involved in the illegal trade and possession of weapons, threatening social stability and people's lives and property, he said.

"In some areas, gangs have used weapons to protect their illegal production and trade of drugs and then used the big profits they earned to support their secret triads," Lin said.

Lin said that in the first half of the year, police across the province have detained 14,893 suspects, 41 percent more than that period last year, in 3,897 cases involving gangs.

To fight such problems, a provincewide gang crackdown will continue through October. The campaign was created by a provincial task force established this year headed by Li Chunsheng, deputy governor of Guangdong and director general of Guangdong Provincial Department of Public Security.

Police have detained more than 50 suspects and seized pistols and knives after breaking up a gang in Dongguan on June 30. The gang was being investigated on suspicion of opening illegal casinos and was accused of using violence to collect "protection fees" from local businesspeople.

In a raid on a gang in Boluo county, Huizhou, on June 17, police detained 22 suspects and seized guns, ammunition, knives and three vehicles.

The gang was suspected of illegal mining, running casinos, using violence to monopolize local markets and illegally trading and possessing weapons.

Thirteen criminal gangs were broken up in Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Shantou, Foshan, Huizhou, Shanwei, Dongguan, Zhanjiang and Yunfu from January to June.

Peng Peng, a senior researcher at Guangzhou Academy of Social Science, attributed vote-buying in village head elections to gangs, which are interested in the large profits available in selling and requisitioning lands in the townships and villages.

He said expanded supervision in the election of township and village heads was needed.

"Meanwhile, the rate of university-educated village heads and cadres should be increased," Peng said, "and higher level officials should be posted in townships and villages where gangs are active to help fight the crimes."

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