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China Introduces Migrant Police to Combat Rising Migrant Crime

China's Ministry of Public Security has begun to transfer police from the hometowns of migrant workers to big cities to assist urban police in fighting the rising migrant crime rate.

Several provinces are already piloting the project, the ministry said.

Officers from Zunyi City, Guizhou Province, and Yongfeng City, Jiangxi Province, have been transferred temporarily to stations in Zhuji City, Zhejiang Province, a major destination for migrants from the two areas.

The police would help fight crime in Zhuji and provide other services for migrant workers.

Prof. Mao Shoulou of the School of Public Administration of Beijing-based Remin University, said police from migrant source towns could better understand and communicate with migrants.

Liu Jinguo, Vice Minister of Public Security, said the pilot project would be extended to areas reporting "prominent" levels of migrant crime.

China has more than 100 million migrants, who have moved from predominantly rural areas to bigger cities in search of work.

Tuesday's Legal Daily newspaper reported the number of crimes committed by migrants was rising. It cited Yinchuan City, capital of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, which has more than 160,000 migrants.

In 2005, local police arrested almost 1,000 migrants on criminal charges, more than 60 percent of the city's total arrests that year.

Last year, 1,177 migrants were arrested, accounting for 57 percent of the city's criminal suspects arrested.

Local police said migrants had no fixed residences, making it difficult for police to trace them or collect evidence. In addition, migrants from common hometowns were more prone to form organized criminal gangs.

Liu said accommodation that was temporarily let to migrants should be registered at local police stations, so the police could build an information database of temporary residents and rented accommodation.

He also said police authorities should simplify procedures and prolong work times to make it easier for migrants to obtain temporary residence registration.

(Xinhua News Agency August 22, 2007)

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