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November 17, 2011

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Tighter laws for city enforcers

CONTROVERSIAL public order enforcers are set to be subject to tighter regulations, under a new law being drafted by city legislators.

Urban management workers - who across China are often accused of using excessive force - will have to adhere to clearly defined rules, city legislators said yesterday.

Legislators are working on the law covering officers employed by the Shanghai government to help maintain public order and security.

Urban management staff are not part of the police force and have no legal authority to detain people.

The current law authorizes urban management workers to watch out for environmental and public order violations and assist police and other departments in tackling offences such as illegally setting up roadside stalls, selling fake products and smoking in public.

The grey-uniformed officials are allowed to hand out fines to violators.

The new law would have clearer definitions of the scope of routine duties, while also setting up stricter recruitment requirements and task enforcement rules.

The draft said all future urban management officers must complete training and pass examinations in related laws before being hired.

The new law would also require workers to show their certificates on arriving at the scene of any planned action.

The draft also sets up detailed rules about how confiscated goods, such as fruit from illegally pitched stalls, should be dealt with.

The team would have to publicize claim notices and keep the property for a specified period before it could be auctioned, the draft says.

It also retains a clause banning hiring temporary assistants to urban management officers.

Temporary urban management assistants have frequently featured in controversial cases involving violence.

In a high-profile 2009 case, fruit seller Peng Lin was beaten so severely by urban management workers for blocking a sidewalk with watermelons that he was left paralyzed.

Five team members, who it was claimed were hired as temporary assistants, were jailed over the attack.

And last December, postal workers promoting products were reported to have been beaten by urban management workers. In the same month, a 14-year-old boy was beaten for 10 minutes by around 20 urban management workers after he was caught cleaning bicycles on the street.


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