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June 8, 2012

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Tough anti-crime rules for couriers loom

A new Shanghai law will require all courier parcel offices to install 24-hour surveillance and parcel-screening systems and keep footage for at least 30 days to boost security and thwart crimes such as drug trafficking.

City legislators yesterday started discussing the fledging law, which is planned to impose fines up to 50,000 yuan (US$7,854)for a single instance of a courier company failing to comply with the rules.

The parcel-delivery industry has boomed rapidly across the country in recent years, primarily in connection with fast-expanding online commerce. But problems are rising as well. The Shanghai Post Bureau said local police had cracked several fraud cases in recent years in which the criminals stole the recipients' information, delivered them fake parcels and tricked them into paying for the deliveries.

Couriers have also been used to deliver ammunition, explosives and drugs, said the bureau officials, citing an example where seven drug dealers were arrested this March in Nanjing, capital of neighboring Jiangsu Province, for using parcel delivery to transport a drug shipment. Police said they disguised heroin as baby formula.

Li Huide, the post bureau director, said repeat cases like this prompted the new law requiring rigorous screening and monitoring.

A draft of the new law requires the courier companies to keep a database of all senders and receivers and send updated versions of them to the postal watchdog as a measure to help curb parcel crimes.

Customers can also expect improved service quality as the law will contain higher industry standards. For example, it will allow the state-run post offices to intervene in cases of major delays and help incapable couriers to make deliveries to vanquish the backlog. The companies must pay the post offices for the service.


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