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January 5, 2011

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9 hurt in street stall row

At least nine people, including six urban management staff, were injured after a fight broke out at a roadside vegetable stall in Shanghai's Pudong New Area early yesterday.

The injured were taken to hospital for treatment, with one official suffering a serious head injury, according to local TV news.

Local urban management officials said they had been trying to disperse people who were selling vegetables at stalls along the roadside.

Officials started to confiscate produce and other goods at about 7:30am in front of a wet market in Pudong's Sunqiao Town when the fight broke out, witnesses told local TV.

A middle-aged woman was seen to be in tears as she tried to prevent members of the urban management team from taking her electronic scales.

Beaten by clubs

Several men joined in the struggle, pushing back the officials, a witness said. A fight developed after neither side would give way.

Officials with the urban management team based in the area said six of their staff had been beaten by clubs or suffered scratches.

Stallholders said three of their people had been taken to hospital but others had also been injured.

The Pudong district urban management authorities said they had organized a raid to get rid of the "long time headache of roadside vendors."

The authorities said that all they could do about the sellers was to disperse them and confiscate their goods. But "they would come back again once we leave," they claimed.

Pudong police are investigating the incident.

Disputes between urban management teams and owners of small road site stalls are raising public concern again after a relatively peaceful period during the World Expo when sellers were advised not to show up on the streets.

Rude and ruthless

On previous occasions urban management teams have been criticized for being rude and ruthless despite pleas by the city government for officials to carry out their duties in more "civilized ways."

Late last month, local postal authorities expressed their anger after postal staff were attacked by members of an urban management team while they were taking part in a street promotion in Hongkou District.

City urban management authorities said yesterday they had settled the issue with the postal staff and made an apology.

And early last month, also in Hongkou District, a 14-year-old boy suffered a beating by a group of 20 urban management staff which lasted 10 minutes, witnesses said. He had been washing bicycles on the street.

No further details are known about the boy but some team members were taken away by police for questioning.


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