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The number of illegal high-interest loans extended to owners of small companies in the first half of this year rose by 33 cases over a year ago to 116, apparently reflecting the economic slump, the National Police Agency said Thursday.

The NPA said in a report there were five cases in which introduction fees were fraudulently taken from customers who applied for loans and were told they would be introduced to a financial company, up from one case in the same period last year.

Illegal disposal of household electric appliances also rose after the debut of a new recycling law April 1, with 11 cases reported in April, 28 cases in May and 16 cases in June. All of the violators in these cases were punished, the report says.

The recycling law applies to four types of large electric appliances — televisions, refrigerators, air conditioners and washing machines — for which fees are now charged at the time of disposal.

The number of Internet fraud cases involving mail-order businesses or cases where online drug sales or purchases violated the pharmaceutical law rose by 26 cases to 57 in the first half of the year, of which 13 cases involved Internet auction fraud, according to the report.

The number of Internet pyramid schemes exposed for the first time stood at four, the NPA said. The number of pyramid schemes perpetrated through conventional means such as direct mail and telephone rose from one to three cases.

Illegal disposal of industrial waste increased by 53 cases to 240 cases, and marketing of fake brand-name products increased by 15 cases to 62 cases.

The number of reported cases in which gunshots were fired from January through June rose by 65 to 131 cases over the same period last year, mainly due to gangland turf wars.

The number of violent crimes such as murder and robbery involving firearms increased by six cases to 93, and the number of people who died doubled, rising from 10 people to 20.

Among cases in which gunshots were fired, 107 are believed to have been mob-related, up 60 from the corresponding period last year. A total of 60 cases, an increase of eight, were related to gangland clashes.

The number of motorcycle hellions arrested in the first half of the year increased by 422 over the same period last year to 4,076.

The number of people caught violating the Road Traffic Law, including those arrested, stood at 39,794 people, down 2,577 from the same period last year.

Violations of the criminal code rose by 217 to 2,750 cases, with 1,124 of them thefts. Cases of assault and bodily harm stood at 727.

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