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Amid an increase in industrial waste-related crimes, the National Police Agency Monday set a policy of strictly prosecuting the illegal disposal of industrial waste and other acts that damage the environment.

Under the plan, not only dealers who illegally dispose of industrial waste but also those who contract them will be charged with violating the Wastes Disposal and Public Cleaning Law, officials said.

The agency, which on Monday notified each prefectural police department of the policy program, said it will crack down more strictly on the incineration of waste that could generate dioxin by recognizing such acts as crimes that cause environmental destruction.

The agency also instructed local police to take greater efforts to prosecute a wide range of illicit waste dumping practices.

The agency said evil deeds that destroy the environment continue to rise, despite growing public concern about dioxin and endocrine disrupters, chemicals suspected of disrupting hormone secretions.

At the same time, the agency called on prefectural police to cooperate and go beyond prefectural borders to tackle crimes related to industrial waste.

The plan also urges local administrative authorities and industries involved in the issue to strengthen cooperative relations.

According to the agency, 342 industrial waste-related crimes were disclosed in 1998, including 101 cases that involved more than two prefectures.

Fifty percent of the 342 cases were related to the illegal disposal of waste, and about 33 percent involved dealers operating without a license.

The agency officials said these cases represent only the tip of the iceberg and vowed to strictly prosecute companies that violate the law.

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