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Economic crimes rise, disturb social order
By Jiang Zhuqing (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-05-28 22:46

With a developing market economy, economic crime in China may become more and more severe in the coming years, a senior public security official warned Friday.

The number of economic crimes is risingall the time, as are the sums involved, demanding unremitting effort from the police, said Chen Anfu, director of the Department of Economic Crime Investigation of the Ministry of Public Security.

Latest statistics from Chen's department indicate that, since 2000, Chinese police departments at all levels have investigated 277,000 cases of economic crimes with the arrests of 262,000 suspects and the retrieval of 67 billion yuan (US$8.1 billion).Quite different from criminal cases,economic crimes always affect lives of many people in different places and regions, which is its prominent characteristic, Chen said.

"For example, the notorious murderer suspect Ma Jiajue just fled from Yunnan Province to Guangxi then to Hainan Province," he said. "Meanwhile, an economic crime case could involve hundreds of people from all walks of life, increasing the hardship of investigation."

To fight strongly against and prevent economic crimes is of great importance to safeguarding economic and financial order, the healthy development of the economy and the fundamental interests of the people, said Premier Wen Jiabao in a written instruction to a national meeting on fight against economic crime this week.

Addressing the meeting, Public Security Minister Zhou Yongkang noted economic crime influenced all aspects of economic life, destroying economic order as well as inducing corruption and disturbing the social order.

More and more economic crime suspects have excellent education backgrounds who have special knowledge or skills in a certain field, Chen said. "Besides, many economic crime activities occur within a unit or organization; all these add difficulty to solving these cases."

Police departments have repatriated 230 economic crime suspects who fled China from more than 30 countries and regions since 1998, he said. There are about 500 others still at large.

In China the term "economic crime" is used to convey a range of crimes such as money laundering, fraud by bogus cheques, deceptive contracts, taxation fraud, fake trademarks, food and medicine as well as infringements on intellectual property rights.

Gao Feng, who is the vice-director of Chen's department, said illegal pyramid selling has become "an economic cult," which has attracted not only jobless, laid-off workers and farmers but also university students, soldiers and even public servants from various departments.

Though there were not so many cases involving infringements on intellectual property rights among cases solved by the police, Chen said he believed that the number of IPR infringement cases would increase rapidly in the future.

"It is a long-term and arduous job for Chinese police to fight against rampant economic crimes," Chen said. "At the same time, the police should also improve capability through team building and resist corruption."

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