The number of serious cases involving government officials and party cadres who abuse their power or are guilty of corruption surged more than seven per cent to 3,126 cases in the first six months of this year compared to the same period last year, Xinhua said. Of those, 1,500 prosecuted cases involved judges, prosecutors and policemen accused of abusing their official duties or torturing suspects to get confessions. The figure was 33 per cent higher than the same period last year, said Li Baotang, an official from the Supreme People's Procuratorate, the country's top prosecuting body. The dereliction of duties and power abuses involved an increasing number of high-profile officials and had resulted in the loss of hundreds of million of yuan in public funds. Mr Li said authorities were concerned about 908 serious cases involving loss of life or severe injuries. One case involved the loss of more than one million yuan (HK$940,000) in public funds. Such cases have risen 50 per cent on last year. The top prosecution body said yesterday it had set up a department to deal with officials who had violated citizens' rights or were accused of dereliction of duties. The new Anti-Malfeasance Department, to be headed by Mr Li, was formed to deal with malpractices, power abuses and corruption by government officials at county-level and above. The department will investigate crimes such as official errors involved in industrial accidents, embezzlement of government funds, illegal exemption of taxes and fabrication of statistics, a deputy procurator-general, Zhao Dengju, said.