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Despite a 10 percent drop in crimes by foreigners in Japan in 2000, those committed by Chinese rose by 9 percent, the National Police Agency said Thursday.

According to the NPA report, police made arrests in 30,971 criminal cases involving foreigners in Japan last year. Chinese committed crimes in 54.2 percent of the cases, topping the 50 percent mark for the first time since the NPA began compiling the data in 1989.

The agency said it will work more with authorities from China and other countries to reduce foreign crimes, which investigators suspect are being committed more and more by organized groups.

Police arrested 12,711 foreigners in Japan in 2000, down 5.4 percent from a year earlier. Of those, 5,189, or 40.8 percent, were Chinese, followed by Brazilians at 14.3 percent and South Koreans at 8.7 percent.

The report also shows that 61.8 percent of such Penal Code violations as robberies and theft were committed by Chinese.

Broken down by category, 6,396 cases involved burglaries of homes or offices last year, up 34.8 percent from the previous year.

Police recorded 29,211 incidents of lock-picking but only arrested 524 people, including Japanese. Of the 524, 413, or 78.8 percent, were Chinese.

The NPA said that whereas 83.3 percent of the crimes committed by Japanese were committed by individuals, 49.5 percent of those carried out by foreigners were the acts of groups.

Of those, 33.3 percent involved groups of more than four people, suggesting group crime by foreigners is becoming more systematic and organized, the NPA said.

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