The country's top criminologists have identified commercial fraud, terrorism and triad activities as the three crimes posing the greatest threat to China's stability. More than 180 of China's top criminologists have been attending a three-day-crime conference since Friday at Guangzhou's city procuratorate office, media reports said. The experts focused on triad activities in speaking to the local press. Wang Mu, president of the China Criminology Studies Association and a scholar with the Beijing-based Chinese Legal and Politics University, urged increased legislative efforts to break the powerful 'protection umbrellas' behind the growing numbers of gangs. The term commonly refers to powerful local cadres who privately endorse organised crime. Professor Jiang Lihua, vice-president of the Beijing-based State Procuratorate Academy, said the legislature should consider widening the definition of triad offences so that any group attempting to force, bribe, or coax government employees into providing illegal protection should be considered a triad organisation. It is now difficult to charge a suspect with triad offences as prosecutors must provide substantial evidence showing they are triad members, or a confession they belong to an organised crime ring. Professor Jiang said the many powerful cadres behind gangsters were able to influence investigations conducted by local police. Professor Kang Shuhua, a legal scholar at Peking University and honorary chairman of the China Criminology Studies Association, said authorities had just started to realise the extent of the emerging threat of organised crime in China.