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December 9, 2015

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Police bust tweezer-using gangs

SHANGHAI police announced yesterday that it had busted 20 gangs and nabbed 245 suspects involved in pick-pocketing and bag snatching during a crackdown that lasted over a month.

Two of the gangs that were busted used tweezers to steal mobile phones. They operated in downtown and usually targeted women. In some cases, police found they stole seven mobile phones in eight hours.

Police said they had several cases from Jing’an District alone, all of which seemed similar. Most of the victims reported that their iPhones or other expensive phones were stolen.

Scanning through footage from the surveillance camera, police found it involved 3 suspects who would use tweezers to flick phones from the victims’ pockets. It just took them few seconds to steal the phone on a busy downtown street.

The police identified the three from Hainan Province but by the time they tracked them down they had already left Shanghai. The hotels they lived in Shanghai were very close to each other. Police expected them to return to the same neighborhood to commit more crimes again.

On November 11, police learnt that three men from Hainan had checked into one of the hotels on Beijing Rd W.. But they were the not suspects they were looking for. The two suspects police were looking for checked into the same hotel the next day.

Police caught the two gangs after they went on a pick-pocketing spree in the city.

One of the gangs stole eight mobile phones in seven hours with a 30-centimeter rubber-headed tweezer. Both the gang had the same method of operating.

The gang would fly down from Hainan to Shanghai, commit crimes, and return home after a few days. Most of the phones were expensive ones like iPhone 6 Plus or top Samsung models, police said.

The suspects told the police they targeted women as they usually carried expensive phones. They could tell the phone models by looking at the earphones. Besides, they said, women were less likely to report a theft to the police.

The holiday season is a prime time for such thefts and usually lasts till the Chinese New Year, police said.



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