Police to boost armed patrols across urban centres, state media says

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 March, 2014, 4:24am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 March, 2014, 5:29pm

Police will increase armed patrols, especially in densely populated areas like urban centres and transport hubs, in a drive to crack down on violent crime, state news reported yesterday.

The central government has been alarmed by a series of incidents in recent months, including a knife attack at a train station in Kunming , Yunnan province, blamed on militants from Xinjiang this month.

"The ministry [of public security] said that it will carry out armed patrols and take timely measures to handle violent criminals," Xinhua said.

"The ministry urged public security organs at all levels to increase work efficiency and further improve the emergency command mechanism in order to fight crime."

Police should also "enhance prevention and control" over busy areas like stations, airports, schools, hospitals and tourist attractions, Xinhua said.

In a country with tight controls on firearms, most violent crime happens with knives, or homemade weapons.

Last week, police shot dead a man who went on a rampage with a knife in Changsha , capital of Hunan province, killing five, after a dispute between market vendors got out of control. The city's authorities identified them as Hebir Turdi and Memet Abla, names which suggest they were ethnic Uygurs.

Police in major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai would increase surveillance, while Kunming, Urumqi in Xinjiang and Lhasa in Tibet would also see security tightened, Xinhua said.

The leadership's intense focus on domestic security has at times drawn criticism from international rights group, who say authorities use it to suppress anyone who rattles the country's tightly controlled political system.

According to the budget presented to the National People's Congress this month, the government will spend 205 billion yuan (HK$260 billion) on domestic security this fiscal year, up 6.1 per cent. The figure doesn't represent total government spending in the area. Premier Li Keqiang also pledged to crack down on terrorism when he addressed the session.