Explosives thefts spark crackdown

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 June, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 21 June, 1999, 12:00am

Police have been told to step up surveillance and patrols after a spate of bombings and thefts of explosives.

From January to April, China has recorded more than 1,300 explosions, up a significant 20 per cent from the same period last year.

Top officers decided that efforts should be stepped up to ensure public safety, especially as China would celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic and reunification with Macau later this year.

These two celebrations are now summarily called 'two major events' and police were told that they must ensure a 'harmonious atmosphere' in the country for the two occasions.

Police admitted that explosions now happened more frequently partly because thefts of explosives had become a serious problem.

Records showed that more than 3,000kg of explosives and 80,000 detonators under police administration had been stolen this year. They described 25 such thefts as 'serious'.

Another reason was the supply of explosives. Investigations found that many chemical manufacturers secretly sold stocks to illegal unregistered manufacturers to produce dynamite.

Illegal production of explosives was rampant in China. Last year, police cracked down on more than 16,000 manufacturers making products such as firecrackers.