Police clamp down on illegal fishing, mining in...
Police clamp down on illegal fishing, mining in Yangtze
Police have resolved more than 1,300 criminal cases involving illegal fishing and sand mining in the Yangtze River Basin and detained 2,400 suspects since the end of June, effectively protecting the ecology of the river, the Ministry of Public Security said on Thursday.
Under the deterrence of an intensified crackdown, illegal fishing and sand mining activities in the river have been significantly reduced, and the situation has further improved, said Zhang Xiaopeng, deputy head of the ministry's public security administration bureau.
"The number of aquatic species monitored in the Yangtze River Basin is increasing compared with that in 2018. Rare fish species not seen for many years have reappeared, and the ecological and environmental quality of the Yangtze River has been significantly improved," said Zhang.
The ministry launched a three-year campaign banning fishing in the river in June 2020 and began the operation to combat illegal sand mining in January 2011 to protect the ecology of the river.
Zhang said the ministry has instructed public security organs in cities along the river to enhance cooperation to target each step of illegal fishing and sand mining, and carry out rectification in places where such problems appeared frequently.
"The organizers, profiteers and protection umbrellas behind illegal fishing and sand mining will be severely punished. For those who commit minor crimes and confess them, the authorities will put forward education and guidance on ecological restoration and treat them leniently," he said.
In one case solved in June, police busted several sand mining groups in the cities of Taizhou, Zhenjiang and Yangzhou in Jiangsu province, and arrested more than 120 suspects.
These people had organized five sand mining vessels and 17 other vessels to mine sand over 30 times, with the stolen sand exceeding 200,000 metric tons. Then they shipped and sold the sand to Shanghai and the provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang for about 16 million yuan ($2.3 million).
Hou Zhengwei, an official of the Zhenjiang branch of the Yangtze River Shipping Public Security Bureau, said that the police found that the vessels had all been reconfigured. The ships had a high degree of automation, more horsepower and made less noise to better conceal their actions.
The suspects also used unregistered sim cards to contact each other, made transactions in cash and employed personnel to spy on the offices and boats of law enforcement authorities.
Most of the suspects in the sand mining group were from the same village and accepted training to prevent further investigation. The gang had a clear division of labor and tight organization. The sand transport ship and unloading dock were all relatively fixed, he said.
"In the investigation of such cases, we should work together with the local public security organs along the river to comprehensively combat criminal activities," he said.