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November 29, 2010

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Telecom cables stolen again

FOR the second time in less than a month, a hospital and hundreds of households in Zhabei District experienced disrupted telephone and computer network services after thieves stole a telecom cable again.

The first theft, which happened on November 11, was repeated in the same residential complex at 591?Zhong-huaxin Road in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Residents found a section of cable, installed about 5 to 6 meters above the ground on the walls of two buildings, had been stolen. Hundreds of households and apartments in and around the complex lost Internet and telephone connections.

The Zhabei District Central Hospital, which uses the same telecom cable, lost its connection to the city's general health insurance settlement system and also lost all telephone services.

Medical bills had to be written by hand by doctors and patients had to pay with cash, instead of clearing bills with their health insurance cards.

"The hospital will refund the cash and resettle the bills by using the patients' medical insurance cards within 15 days," said a hospital worker.

Telecom repair workers managed to restore the hospital's computer and telephone system by 9:35am yesterday by setting up makeshift cables. And by 11:30am, the whole telecom network in the affected area had been reconnected by workers.

Police have started an investigation but have not said whether the two cases were connected.

Residents yesterday urged authorities to make the telecom cables more secure and complained about the frequent disturbances.

Residents said cables in their complex had also been stolen in 2008.


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