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The number of Chinese placed under arrest or on whom papers were sent to prosecutors in the first half of the year rose by 42.4 percent from the same period last year, the National Police Agency reported Thursday.

Crimes allegedly committed by foreigners, a popular media scapegoat, accounted for a scant 1.39 percent of all cases in the half-year period.

The total number of arrests and papers sent to prosecutors, including those involving Japanese, reached 1.34 million cases in the first six months of this year, edging down 0.9 percent from a record 1.35 million cases in the same period last year.

There were a total of 18,579 cases involving arrests or papers sent to prosecutors on foreigners, up about 20 percent from a year earlier. However, in the January-June period of last year, the year-on-year rate of increase was 25.8 percent, meaning the growth rate of crimes by foreigners decreased in the latest half-year period.

A total of 9,084 foreigners were involved in the 18,579 cases, up about 20 percent from 7,589 a year earlier. Both totals are the highest recorded since the survey focusing only on alleged crimes by foreigners began in 1993.

Chinese nationals meanwhile accounted for 40 percent of all foreigners found to be involved in crimes during the period, virtually unchanged from January-June 2002, when they accounted for 33.9 percent of all foreign offenders.

“In the 1990s, there were many Chinese held for illegal entry into Japan, but now the number (of Chinese) committing crimes such as robbery and break-ins is increasing and has become one of the factors in deteriorating security,” the NPA claimed.