Beijing says it has completed its programme of removing thousands of firms from ownership by the military and judicial departments, in an effort to cut corruption. Figures now made available, although incomplete, show that the PLA and departments of the judiciary used to own 37,670 businesses. By April, 19,459 - 52 per cent - had been disbanded. Of these, 3,928 belonged to the PLA and 15,531 to judicial bodies. In the past two years, local authorities have taken over 2,956 companies and firms from the PLA and 3,536 from judicial bodies. The PLA has kept 1,346 business enterprises under its wings and judicial bodies have retained 4,757 ventures. The PLA includes not just the military but also the armed police forces. Similarly, judicial bodies cover the police, prosecutors and courts. President Jiang Zemin made the decision for the PLA and judiciary to spin off their business interests in 1998. It was seen as a major move to curb rampant corruption and smuggling. First announcing completion of the programme in May, VicePresident Hu Jintao reiterated Beijing's determination to stop the 'serious harm' of military-backed business ventures. 'These companies take advantage of their special connection and enjoy all kinds of perks. Some even make use of the army, armed police and judicial organs to run monopolies, compete for profits against private business and threaten fair trade,' he said. Mr Hu said army and judicial bodies must be run with government funding and he urged all levels of government to guarantee their budgets.