Public assemblies and protests have been banned by officials in Xiangyin county, Hunan province , after hundreds of villagers rioted last month. The orders - issued by the local court, prosecutors and police - also targeted 'villagers who spread rumours' and offered rewards of up to 5,000 yuan to anyone who turned in 'suspected criminals'. Villagers who violated the rules would face arrest and punishment, said copies of the orders posted on the county government's website. The orders did not indicate how many villagers had been arrested over the July 23 riot, but show the situation in the county, which has a population of about 690,000, remains tense. Earlier reports by a Hong Kong-based human rights group said more than a dozen villagers had been arrested. The riot occurred when hundreds of relocated villagers from Xinhua county clashed with villagers in Xiangyin county. For three days, rival gangs attacked each other with homemade weapons and rifles. The unrest was quelled only after the Hunan provincial government sent hundreds of armed police and rescued county officials who had been taken hostage. Xinhua villagers were relocated to Xiangyin more than 40 years ago, but their relationship with the original inhabitants remains hostile.