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Foreign suspects accused of theft

中国日报网 2013-06-28 10:21

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Police have detained more than a dozen foreigners on suspicion of stealing clothing from well-known stores in Shanghai, saying they were planning to take the goods to their home country for sale.

The suspects from two organized shoplifting gangs are accused of stealing more than 1,500 items of clothing worth 300,000 yuan ($48,600) from stores such as Zara, H&M, Uniqlo and Forever 21, in Shanghai's Huangpu district, according to the Public Security Bureau.

Authorities declined to release the suspects' nationalities, saying only that they are all from a country in Southeast Asia.

"They were successful in evading the stores' security alarms because they used special high-tech bags," said Dong Dehai, a spokesman for Huangpu police. "These bags look very similar to laptop bags and there is a layer in the bag that can block the alarm signal."

One woman from the group first caught police attention on May 19 when she walked back and forth among the aisles of downtown clothing stores, wearing a large backpack.

"She browsed the clothes without buying anything, and she also stared at the shop assistants instead of the goods," Dong said.

Police detained the woman, and on the same night captured 11 other suspects at her hotel, where 1,500 articles of clothing were seized.

The four men and eight women in the group arrived in Shanghai on travel visas on May 15.

Dong said: "The women were divided into two groups with one attracting the attention of clerks and the other stealing the clothes and transferring them to members outside. All the clothes they stole were for the purpose of selling them in their home country."

Another shoplifting group from the same country was busted on May 23.

Police seized five suspects in a store on East Nanjing Road and two accomplices at a hostel, where more than 400 items of clothing were seized.

It was not the first case of foreigners stealing clothes by using special bags.

In 2007, four women were caught stealing suits and dresses valued at more than 70,000 yuan at clothing stores in Shanghai over two days.

A sales clerk at a Zara outlet in Huangpu said many clothing stores outsource work to security service companies.

The clerk said there are three security workers and 16 surveillance cameras in the store. "But more often we detect suspicious customers due to their unusual behavior and unnatural expressions," he said.

The clerk said the store has heard of new devices being used by thieves, such as tools that can detach the magnetic tags pinned on clothes to prevent shoplifting. But such offenders have never been caught.

Questions:

1 What stores in Shanghai were targeted by shoplifting gangs?

2 Who are the suspects?

3 What is their goal?

Answers:

1. Zara, H&M, Uniqlo and Forever 21, in Huangpu district.

2. People from Southeast Asia.

3. They were planning to take the goods to their home country to re-sell.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

About the broadcaster:

Nelly Min is an editor at China Daily with more than 10 years of experience as a newspaper editor and photographer. She has worked at major newspapers in the U.S., including the Los Angeles Times and the Detroit Free Press. She is also fluent in Korean.

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