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China's crime rate up in 1st quarter
Updated: 2004-05-08 09:13

China reported 923,000 criminal cases in the first quarter, an increase of 14.2 percent over the same period last year.

The figures, released Wednesday by the Ministry of Public Security (MPS), revealed a 23.4 percent drop in bombing crimes in the period, while arsons and rapes fell by 6.6 percent and 7.9 percent respectively.

Murder cases basically remained the same as last year, according to the statistics.

During the period, China saw 639,000 theft cases, up 17.1 percent year-on-year, and robberies also rose by 8.6 percent to 74,000.

Meanwhile, police cracked 285,000 criminal cases from January to March, 1.6 percent higher than the previous year, and dealt with 979,000 minor infringements, which were down by 11.3 percent.

The MPS said that it has launched a special move to investigatehomicide cases across the country since February this year in a bid to crack down on major violent crimes, including cases of murdering, bombing, poisoning, arson, abducting, robbery and rape-murdering.

A number of such cases have been cracked and a group of suspects have been captured after the campaign was started, the MPS said, citing college student slayer Ma Jiajue as an example.

Ma, 24, from the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, was accused of killing four fellow students in the Yunnan University from Feb.13 to 15, 2004.

Bodies of the four victims were found in a dormitory in the university on Feb. 23, all with deadly injuries consistent with a blunt metal object.

Ma was later listed as chief suspect by the MPS, which offered a 200,000 yuan (24,300 US dollars) reward to people providing information or clues leading to his apprehension.

He was captured on March 15 in southern China's island provinceof Hainan and was sent back to Yunnan two days later.

Ma was given a death sentence for the crime of murder at the first trial of the Kunming Intermediate People's Court, held on April 24 in southwest China's Yunnan Province.

Ma was also deprived of his political rights for life for killing four fellow college students.

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