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Police shooting of resisting suspects sparks hot debate
Latest Updated by 2006-04-06 10:42:45
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Police shooting of resisting suspects sparks hot debate

Whether police should shoot at criminal suspects if they are resisting arrest has become a hot topic in the capital city of South China's Guangdong Province, as it attempts to curb its high crime rate.

Three police officers were recently awarded 10,000 yuan (US$1,250) each after they shot dead a robbery suspect and caught two others. The three defied police warnings to stop and attempted to run away after they robbed a woman on a busy street.

Zhang Guifang, deputy Party secretary of Guangzhou in charge of public security, praised the police and encouraged other officers to take aim when criminal suspects resist arrest.

Most local residents believe the wider use of firearms would be a deterrent to potential criminals and would subsequently help to reduce the city's high crime rate.

But legal experts and lawyers worry police might abuse their power while on duty.

Liu Jianfu, an associate professor of Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, said police should be told clearly under what conditions they are to shoot, and be made aware they would have to accept any legal responsibility if they acted outside those boundaries.

"Before they shoot they should also give a clear warning to the suspects," Liu said.

He said in many foreign countries police can shoot when suspects have resisted arrest and have threatened people's lives and property. But Liu admitted allowing police to shoot more often might deter other suspects and help ensure a better social order.

Wu Shenda, a local lawyer, hoped detailed guidelines and regulations would be released to guide the use of weapons.

To help curb the high crime rate, Zhang Guifang has urged the police to take effective measures to fight crime, particularly robberies on the street. He also urged all of the public security departments in Guangzhou to establish plainclothes taskforces to stop robberies.

"Police should use every means, including implementing a shooting policy, to fight crime," Zhang told a work conference on Tuesday.

According to statistics from Guangzhou Municipal Bureau of Public Security, two suspects have been shot dead by police, while another three were wounded when they resisted police arrest in Guangzhou since the start of the year.

Zhang earlier promised Guangzhou's number of street robberies would be reduced this year.

Guangzhou's crime rate has so far dropped by 1.8 per cent in the first three months, and in the same period, police handled 6,780 robberies and 12,000 pickpocket cases.

Editor: Yan

By: Zheng Caixiong Source: China Daily Website
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