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August 14, 2009

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Police spark storm over employee DNA records

POLICE in southern China have started to keep DNA records of employees in entertainment venues such as nightclubs and KTVs, a move that has upset some people in the industry.

All employees need a certificate proving they have had their DNA, fingerprints and handwriting recorded by police before they can continue working, Yangcheng Evening News reported yesterday.

Long Shijun, deputy director of a police station in Guangzhou City's Baiyun District, said officers were taking these measures to improve the surveillance of entertainment venues, which were long considered a hotbed of crimes.

Long said 11 KTVs had sprung up in the precinct since 1995, which had threatened public security, according to the report.

He promised the DNA records would be sent directly to the city police's database, minimizing the danger of information being leaked.

Opponents of the move said it stems from a deeply rooted prejudice that nightclub employees are highly likely to commit crimes, the report said.

They said other countries only take DNA and fingerprint records of people with previous convictions, claiming the collection of such private data in advance violates the legal principle of being innocent until proven guilty.

Guangzhou's DNA database has about 300,000 records, the most in the country.


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