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January 6, 2011

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'Vendor fight heavies not ours'

FOLLOWING the latest brutal bust-up between vendors and urban management enforcers, officials have once again said that personnel involved were not their employees.

In the most recent incident, nine people - six urban management staffers and three vendors - were injured in a street fight on Tuesday.

The temporary employees were hired from a security company for the raid in Pudong's Zhangjiang area, according to an investigation by the district urban management authority.

"Our team is short-handed," said Lin Lei, a management official in Pudong.

The statement, however, is unlikely to reassure the public following a series of cases in which vendors and even local postal workers have been beaten up during law enforcement raids.

Some people claim that the authorities try to avoid responsibility for these incidents by stating that personnel involved are not their staff.

Following the most recent battle over pitches, injured urban management personnel have recovered, except for one man who requires further treatment for head injuries. No punishments have been meted out yet.

The three injured vendors suffered slight injuries such as cuts and scratches, said the investigation.

Regular team officials did not join the fight, Li emphasized.

On Tuesday morning, 11 urban management officials, together with 11 hired workers, raided street vendors in front of a wet market.

As the staffers tried to disperse and confiscate the vendors' goods, some climbed onto the team's vehicles, according to district officials.

A fight broke out between stall-holders and six hired staffers who secured the vehicles, authorities said. Some of the workers were beaten with clubs.

This was the latest clash between urban management staff and unlicensed street vendors, a long-running saga marked by fights, injuries and even deaths.

The problem of hiring temporary staff for enforcement campaigns was exposed in 2009 when some were found to be beating up vendors.

Urban management officials have claimed they suffer from poor staffing levels and are trying to hire applicants with higher education backgrounds.


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