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Theft of cable hits telephone network

HUNDREDS of patients and households endured a difficult morning yesterday after a telecom cable in Zhabei District was stolen, shutting down the area's computer and telephone systems for hours.

Police are still hunting the suspects.

People noticed the problem early yesterday morning when they tried to dial their phones or go online.

Zhu Dongchun, a spokesman with the Zhabei District Central Hospital, said the staff first discovered the phones were out of service just before the hospital started its out-patient clinics at 7am.

"About 200 to 300 patients were waiting at that time," said Zhu.

Service in the hospital went "relatively smoothly thanks to patients' cooperation," Zhu added.

Due to the lack of hospital computer network which connects to the city's health insurance system, the bills for medicine were written on paper invoices rather than printed by computers. Patients paid the fees by cash instead of using their health insurance cards.

People found the damaged cable in front of a residential building next to the hospital on Zhonghuaxin Road.

Forty meters of cable, about 5 to 6 meters above ground, had been taken.

At least 600 households nearby were affected.

The telecom service in the hospital went back online at 9:40am after emergency repair work. The service to households resumed at 11:30am, said authorities.

Also yesterday, police caught two suspects who stole cables in a university. Three others fled after they were detected by security guards.


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