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December 14, 2009

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Officer dismissed, 6 punished after row with market vendors

SONGJIANG District government has removed one officer from its urban management team and punished six others over the weekend after a fight between team members and vendors last week.

About 10 vendors, three urban management officers and a passerby were injured last Tuesday, when 35 officers were sent to a small market in the district's Jiuting area.

They were sent to crack down on electricity theft, improper use of fire, illegal occupation of the street and blocking of emergency exits which were common in the market where 120 merchants operated.

"The urban management team has ordered the vendors to improve their practices several times,'' said Chen Junkang, an official with the government. "But it has had little effect to date."

The team started to confiscate goods illegally sold on the street or stored in the fire exits. Complaints and resistance from the vendors finally escalated into fights between the two groups.

The law enforcement team entered the market at 7:30am. Their work went smoothly at the beginning, but encountered great resistance after 8:15am when most merchants were opening their stores.

"The officers are too rude," an unnamed vendor said in a television interview.

About 10 street vendors tried to take their goods back and got into a dispute with the officers.

Two women laid down in front of the vehicles to stop them moving.

A woman fell to the ground during one quarrel and her brother is said to have attacked the officers with bricks. The officers struck back and the situation quickly developed into chaos.

One officer, Shen Ping, had to have three stitches in a head wound while a passerby, Shi Guiping, also suffered a head injury which required four stitches.

The district government set up an investigation team into the incident the next day.

Shen Huijun, who injured the passerby, was removed from his post. A gross demerit was recorded on Zhou Anjian, director of the Songjiang Jiuting urban management team and a demerit was recorded on Yao Junlin, leader of the law enforcement team.

Four team members received warnings.


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