context: That crime is increasing is not a major surprise, given recent developments as well as indications months earlier that problems were mounting. What is however notable is a high-profile official exhibiting concern that, despite some local triumphs, organised crime is expanding and becoming a more sophisticated adversary.

At a press conference, Chen Shiqu 陈士渠 Ministry of Public Security Criminal Investigation Bureau deputy director said that the rise of the Internet, the speed of transport and mobile payments have led to new criminal trends. Criminals are increasingly absconding, crime has become more regional and professionalised, and traditional crimes have morphed into non-contact variations. Gang formation and criminal behaviour, Chen noted, have become more difficult to detect.

People’s Daily reports that current forms of fraud and theft tend to be cross-regional, serial and involve gangs. Some regional criminal groups threaten the whole country, and disposal of stolen goods tends to start in certain areas before radiating to other parts of the country. The crackdown on pickpocketing and other forms of street crime is ceaseless. The report also states that the harm posed by repeat offenders is huge.

Despite these challenges, in 2018, the article states, 1.18 million fraud and robbery cases were cracked and 6.56 bn recovered for the masses.