More suspects prosecuted while Urumqi syringe attacks

Source: Xinhua [09:59 September 09 2009]

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Recent syringe attacks that triggered public scare in the northwestern Chinese city of Urumqi were no simple violations but "violent, terrorist" crimes, said a police officer and a law expert Tuesday.

The syringe attacks were neither some individuals' practical jokes, nor simple criminal activities, but organized and planned major adverse events, which had disturbed social order and created an atmosphere of fear in the city, said Du Xintao, a legal affairs official with the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Regional Public Security Department.

The attacks were aimed at individuals on the surface and at unsettling groups in society, so that they were not ordinary crimes but crimes against society and endangered public and state security, Du told a press conference.

"They (the attacks) were copies of violent, terrorist crimes," said Yan Yuxing, a law expert and former president of the Intermediate People's Court of Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang.

Yan said the attacks were aimed to unsettle the city's atmosphere and stressed that an attacker might face death penalty if the consequence was grave.

MORE SUSPECTS PROSECUTED

Local authorities said Tuesday another four suspects involved in syringe attacks were prosecuted Monday for spreading false dangerous substances.

With the help of three accomplices, Abdurusul Abdukdale stabbeda woman surnamed Li in the neck with a syringe at about 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 3 in an underground passage in Urumqi, said the People's Procuratorate of the city.

The four suspects were caught at the scene. The Urumqi procuratorate approved the arrest of the four Monday.

Previously, another four suspects were prosecuted for endangering public security.

Hundreds of people have been stabbed by hypodermic syringes or needles in Urumqi, triggering public scare. Tens of thousands of residents took to the streets last week to demand security guarantees. Five people died and at least 14 were hospitalized for injuries during the protests.

Police have caught 45 suspects amid the syringe scare, of whom 12 are in police custody. Eight people have been sent for forced isolation of drugs, according to Urumqi police authorities.

The regional and municipal governments are tackling the crisis. The governments have posted guards in public areas like buses, schools and hospitals. The health department is treating victims. No death nor any case which needs anti-virus drugs has been reported, said an official with the regional center of disease control and prevention.

RETURNING TO NORMAL

Police on Tuesday lifted traffic controls on most roads in Urumqi. Passengers increased on the streets and there were sporadic congestions at different crossings. Public security staff were seen on some buses.

Police vehicles patrolled on major streets, broadcasting the notice that those committing syringe attacks must be punished according to law.

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