AN increasing number of officials are taking bribes or embezzling public money, according to two government reports delivered to the Fujian People's Congress yesterday. The reports were prepared by the provincial Procurator-General Zheng Yizheng and the province's top judge, Fang Zhongbing. They warned more criminals were trying to build a 'network of connections' within the Government through bribery. Mr Zheng told the congress his department last year approved the arrest of 18,394 suspects, up 27.8 per cent from 1993, with 16,052 charged and prosecuted, a 33.1 per cent rise from the previous year. Fujian last year witnessed a significant increase in serious crimes, such as drug-trafficking and forgery of government tax receipts. Mr Zheng's department last year investigated a total of 2,275 economic cases, up 21.3 per cent from 1993. The sum involved totalled more than 260 million yuan (HK$238 million). The Procurator-General also reported an alarming trend of corruption within the Judiciary and law enforcement units. In 1994, about 566 cases investigated by his department involved policemen, officials from the prosecutor's office and the Judiciary. A total of 242 judicial and law-enforcement officers were investigated for embezzling public money, he said. He pointed out that as many as 77 senior cadres were being investigated for what he described as 'serious offences' last year - more than the combined total for the previous two years, almost all involving corruption or embezzlement of public money. The report by Judge Fang showed that 839 government and law enforcement officials were convicted of graft or embezzlement of public funds last year.