China 2008 Crime & Safety Report

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China 2008 Crime & Safety Report

Postby long_way » Thu Jun 17, 2010 7:44 pm

SAFETY AND SECURITY

Crime against foreigners occurs, especially in major cities and tourist areas. Violent crime is relatively rare, although foreigners have been attacked and robbed, particularly in popular expatriate bar areas of Beijing and Shanghai. There is an increase in cases of extortion by rickshaw drivers, particularly in Beijing. Foreign women, travelling alone are more likely to be targeted.

Foreigners have also been attacked in the shopping district of Shenzhen, located across the border from Hong Kong. Canadians should be extremely vigilant while in Shenzhen and surrounding areas. Police presence is poor in areas bordering on Burma (Myanmar), Laos, Pakistan, Siberia, and Vietnam. There is a risk of armed bandit attacks in remote parts of China. Canadians in south China should maintain a high level of personal security awareness at all times, particularly in commercial and public establishments. They should also monitor local developments and follow the advice of local authorities.

Trekkers should not venture alone in remote or sparsely-populated areas.

Shanghai is a relatively safe city, although you should take the same precautions against crime as you would at home. Petty crime, such as pick pocketing and purse snatching, occurs more frequently at tourist sites such as the Bund, the Yu Gardens, and in the bar area around Hengshan road. Travellers should be aware of one particular extortion scam directed at foreigners: foreigners have been approached by strangers on Nanjing East Road (Nanjing Dong Lu) and invited to a nearby establishment for a drink (usually tea or alcohol). They are then presented with an exorbitant bill and forced to pay under duress and threat of injury. In some cases, the person has been harmed. Visitors to the city should be cautious of unsolicited requests from strangers to "practice English" or to accompany them to an unknown location.

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing, purse snatching, and theft of mobile phones and laptop computers, is prevalent, even during the day. Travellers should be vigilant in all crowded locations, including tourist sites, trade fairs, restaurants, coffee shops, Internet cafés, markets, and department stores. Do not carry large sums of money. Secure valuables, including passports, in hotel safe-deposit facilities. Copies of passports/ID and a small supply of cash should be carried separate from other valuables.

Petty crime and notallowedword harassment occur on buses and overnight trains. Ensure that the train compartment contains packages belonging only to you and other occupants. Store personal belongings in a safe place and do not leave the compartment unattended. Doors should be securely locked.

Demonstrations are illegal and should be avoided. Participants may be subject to severe legal action.

Pirate attacks and armed robbery against ships in the South China Sea occur. Mariners should take appropriate precautions. For additional information, see the Weekly Piracy Report published by the Commercial Crime Services division of the International Chamber of Commerce.


Source: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/countries_pays/ ... p?id=55000



China 2008 Crime & Safety Report

Overall Crime and Safety Situation

Major metropolitan areas in China are relatively safe, especially in comparison with similarly sized cities in other developing countries. A sizeable law enforcement and security presence serve as an effective deterrent against most types of crime, including those of a violent nature. Nevertheless, the embassy assesses that while the overall crime threat is low, the number of criminal incidents, including those directed against official Americans, continue to rise. As China’s economy expands, so too does the disparity among socio-economic classes, creating conditions that will likely further the low, but nonetheless, increasing rate of crime.

It should be noted that the embassy believes that official crime statistics are typically underreported by the police. This practice will continue at least through the Olympics, as law enforcement sources have informed the Regional Security Officer (RSO) that they have no plans to officially confirm reports of violent crime now or during August 2008.

Statistically, the most common type of crime directed against Western nationals is petty in nature: pick-pocketing, minor thefts, and various types of financial scams are all commonly reported crimes. Such incidents mainly transpire at tourist sites, upscale shopping areas, the airport, and similar locations frequented by Westerners.

Reports of “black money” scams (where “authentic” U.S. currency is purportedly coated in black ink and sold to unsuspecting Westerners along with a solution that removes the ink) continue to trickle in. One official American recently reported that two females attempted to lure him and his wife to a café to engage in conversation and order tea. Fortunately, he was aware that this was likely a potential scam where the victims are forced (often via physical intimidation) to pay an exorbitant bill for the tea and immediately declined the offer.

Of more serious concern, RSO has received multiple reports of residential break-ins, car windows being smashed to steal unattended items, thefts of mopeds and bicycles, luggage being stolen from taxi cabs, credit card fraud, and the vandalizing of personal property (primarily vehicles and buildings). Fraudulent 100 Yuan notes being dispersed at bank ATMs is also becoming more common. Interestingly, bank officials do not know how to handle such incidents, preferring to contact the police and have the victim arrested.

Violent crime against foreigners remains rare, but is also on the rise. For example, three Europeans were stabbed on at least two separate occasions at Tiananmen Square in 2007 – the incidents involved non-fatal injuries. While not directed against a Westerner, a Chinese national was stabbed multiple times near an official embassy residence in August of this year. RSO has also received reports of serious assaults, including those directed against official Americans. In addition, a limited number of unconfirmed reports involving the possible use of date-rape drugs at bars and nightclubs have been submitted to RSO in the past calendar year.

Recent open source reporting suggests that violence is becoming more common among certain sectors in China’s emerging capitalist sector, with some businesses employing strong arm tactics and physical violence to intimidate competitors.


Road Safety

Americans visiting China are advised to take routine safety precautions and to be aware of their surroundings at all times. Many hotels and apartment buildings may be of substandard construction, lacking emergency exits, fire suppression systems, carbon monoxide monitors, and standard security equipment (locks, alarms, and personnel).

Public transportation in major metropolitan areas is comparatively modern – buses, subways, and taxis are of relatively new design. However, trains and buses are often crowded, with individuals employed specifically to “wedge” additional passengers into conveyances that are already loaded well beyond the recommended capacity.

Physical road conditions in larger cities are generally good to excellent. In contrast, driving conditions are usually poor. Beijing alone is adding some 1,200 vehicles to the road per day, causing already congested roads to come to a standstill during rush hour. The greatest “road hazard” is local driving habits – most have little experience operating motor vehicles, and are either overly cautious or aggressive, leading to several accidents per day. On an annual basis, RSO offices respond to dozens of traffic accidents involving official Americans, most of which are minor in nature. Additional road hazards include pedestrians, bicyclists, animals, poorly graded roads, and dearth of traffic signals/signs in suburban areas, making it unclear which vehicle has the right of way.

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How to Avoid Becoming a Victim

Travelers are strongly encouraged to be aware of their surroundings while in China. Continued vigilance is necessary to reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim of crime. As a general rule, lesser developed areas in major cities have a higher rate of crime. Statistically, more crimes of opportunity transpire during early morning hours; for example, individuals who frequent bars, nightclubs, and similar establishments are more likely to be involved in physical altercations after midnight.

The embassy recommends that visitors keep money in more than one location, taking care to separate small and large denominations. Men should place their wallets in front pickets, and women should drape the shoulder straps of purses across their body and keep purses in view and under positive control at all times. If you use a backpack, do not place items of worth inside.

Travelers are encouraged to make copies of their passport photo page and visa, as well as credit card numbers; these copies should be stored in their hotel or residence in the event the actual items are stolen.

Public payphones are becoming less common in urban areas. The embassy recommends that long-term visitors purchase cellular phones and that short-term travelers contact their cellular phone provider to determine if it provides coverage in both Mainland China and Hong Kong.

Individuals are encouraged to use official taxis (typically two-tone sedans) that employ meters. If a driver refuses to use a meter, exit the vehicle and use another taxi.

Counterfeit products are readily available, but illegal to import into the United States. U.S. Customs officials have the authority to seize suspect goods and impose finds on travelers caught attempting to enter the U.S. with counterfeit items.

Read the complete report here: http://www.osac.gov/Reports/report.cfm?contentID=82852
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