The national police chief said yesterday the force needed to make major improvements next year to enhance its ability to catch criminals and maintain social order. The Legal Daily quoted Jia Chunwang, Minister of Public Security, as telling a national meeting of police chiefs in Yichang that, in the first 11 months of the year, the force had solved 1.39 million criminal cases, an increase of 15.1 per cent over the same period last year. These included 59,000 cases of economic crime, which led to the recovery of more than 10 billion yuan (HK$9.4 billion) for the state, collectives and individuals. Mr Jia singled out five major successes during the year. One was a campaign launched between April and July to combat kidnapping of women and children for sale as wives or prostitutes or to couples without offspring. Mr Jia said the campaign had rescued many victims, returned them to their families and captured the gangs of smugglers. Another priority was the arrest of murder and robbery suspects. The police devoted major efforts to capturing those who evaded tax or were involved in smuggling and cheating the state by submitting fake export tax rebates. Between April and September, police nationwide mounted the biggest operation since 1949 against fake currency dealing, with more than 10,000 cases. Fake money with a face value of 470 million yuan was seized. Between July and September, they launched a campaign to clean up prostitution and gambling and drug dens, as well as illegal electronic game centres. Looking ahead, Mr Jia said the major task was to improve the 'revolutionising . . . and modernisation of the force' and raise its overall quality and fighting capability. 'We must strengthen political ideology, increase efficiency in catching criminals and raise our ability to control social order,' he said. During the year, the official press has rarely reported the role of the police as an agent of social control in dealing with protests by unemployed people, workers and pensioners who have not been paid or farmers protesting against unfair taxes and levies. But it has extensively reported on cases of multiple murder. One involved farmer Li Zhaobin, 30, from Hunan. In the six months until his capture on December 8 in Guizhou, Li was involved in nearly 20 crimes in Hunan, Hubei, Guangxi and Guizhou provinces. He killed three people, wounded four, raped 11 women and stole goods and cash worth more than 100,000 yuan, the China Youth Daily reported. Hunan police offered a reward of 15,000 yuan for his capture. He was arrested in Guiyang, capital of Guizhou, after a tip-off.