Jails get set for influx of robbers

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 August, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 August, 2005, 12:00am

A Guangzhou official in charge of law and order has warned the city's prisons to be ready for a 20 per cent increase in inmates ahead of a planned three-month crackdown on street robberies and theft.

Zhang Guifang , party secretary of Guangzhou's politics and legal committee, said judicial departments had to ensure robbers were quickly arrested and convicted, while detention houses and prisons had to ensure they had room for the expected influx.

The three-month campaign - a joint effort by police and judicial authorities - is due to start in a few days. It follows a Supreme People's Court clarification of the crime of robbery to include violent theft using a vehicle, which raises the penalty to a minimum of three years.

Mr Zhang said the city should make the most of the judicial interpretation, adding that almost all violent thefts using vehicles could be defined as robberies.

His office, which will supervise the campaign, has ordered all police branches in the city to set up special taskforces to tackle drive-by robbers and bag snatchers.

The committee also requires judicial agencies to make robbery cases a priority.

Local media says the number of street robberies in the first seven months of the year has risen 21.7 per cent over the same period last year.