CHINA. PROVINCE TAPS THIEVES WITH EXECUTION
February 27, 2006: Courts in China's southern province of Guangdong will introduce harsher penalties, including death, to deter motorcycle-riding purse snatchers who sometimes chop off the hands of victims who resist, the Yangcheng Evening News said.
Guangdong's courts had heard more than 64,000 cases of such high-speed thefts and other kinds of armed robbery in the past three years, and convicted nearly 85,000 suspects, accounting for one third of all people found guilty of crimes.
To ease the "grave situation", the province's high court, prosecutor's office and police bureau issued guidelines authorising violent purse-grabbers to face stiff armed robbery charges, as opposed to the lighter sentences for ordinary theft they used to face. The penalties for armed robbery range from lengthy jail terms to execution, the newspaper said. (Sources: Reuters, 27/02/2006)