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Crackdown on financial crimes gains concern
By Zhang Dingmin (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-09-23 01:16

A crackdown on document-based financial crimes has netted some major results, authorities say.

The crackdown started in March and focused on crimes involving financial certificates and other instruments like commercial bills, letters of credit and credit cards. Since then, the Ministry of Public Security cracked 2,080 cases, recovering a combined 177 million yuan (US$21.3 million).

The crackdown, jointly launched by the ministry, the China Banking Regulatory Commission and People's Bank of China (PBOC), is scheduled to end in December.

Financial instruments and certificates are becoming increasingly widely used in China for financial reform accelerates following the nation's entry into the World Trade Organization.

Ninety six banks have so far issued a total of 714 million bank cards in the country. Businesses issued commercial bills worth 1.6 trillion yuan (US$193 billion) in the first half of this year, up 29 per cent from one year earlier, official statistics indicated.

"However, criminal cases involving financial certificates and instruments happened frequently, which seriously affected the nation's normal financial order and social credit environment as well as the normal development of the financial industry," said Zhang Jing, deputy director of the Economic Crime Investigation Bureau under the ministry.

Although such cases are not as frequent as many other crimes like robbery, they typically involve huge amounts of money, the official said.

Such cases often involve many victims that live in different regions of the nation, and the broad scope of influence is very likely to endanger social stability, he said.

What is more noteworthy, Zhang said, is that criminals are increasingly using high technologies, including computer programs, which considerably complicates investigative efforts.

"The trend of professionalization is a growing problem," he said.

To assist the ministry's efforts, the PBOC, China's central bank, has submitted a report to the State Council on establishing a co-ordination mechanism among financial regulators and the ministry to combat financial crimes.

The bank has been promoting the use of anti-fraud techniques among commercial banks, and is planning to upgrade bank drafts by the end of this year, it said.

On a related front, Xu Zhen, deputy director of the Payment and Settlement Office under PBOC, said experts and lawmakers have finished a preliminary draft of the nation's first Anti-Money-Laundering Law.

The law is widely expected to facilitate the State's efforts to fight money laundering, which, in many cases, comes in tandem with financial crimes.

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