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June 19, 2010

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Gang of thieves who targeted Expo site visitors arrested

SHANGHAI law enforcement authorities are reminding visitors to the World Expo site to watch their belongings after a gang of three targeting visitors was arrested.

The Pudong New Area People's Prosecutor's Office said the suspects had come to Shanghai from other provinces mainly to steal at the Expo site, where hundreds of thousands of people visit every day, most with valuable belongings such as cameras, lenses, wallets and cell phones.

"We just hung around the Expo site to see if there was any chance to steal," said one of the suspects surnamed Chen.

Chen met the other two suspects at the Shanghai Railway Station after arriving on a train from Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, on May 17 and took the Expo Bus No.1 directly to the Expo's Pudong site. All of them had bought Expo tickets and planned to steal from visitors.

The prosecutor's office said the three all had criminal records and worked as a team in stealing, transporting and dividing spoils.

"They came up with the plan together and decided to divide the spoils equally," prosecutor Bao Jianmin said yesterday.

The suspects were not only targeting the Expo, but other big events where the mobility of the people was high and the victims less likely to call the police, Bao said.

Some of the suspects even made a chart of events across the country.

"Sometimes the victim just lost a cell phone or a camera and he or she may have felt it was too much trouble to call the police," Bao said.

Shanghai police are reminding visitors to not hesitate to call 110 immediately as it may solve a major crime case and they may get their belongings back.

The three suspects were caught by plain-clothes police on May 29.

They had nine cameras, four lenses and 10 cell phones where they were staying, police said.


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