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The number of crimes involving foreign nationals dropped 4.6 percent to 23,363 in the first half of the year, while the number of foreigners actually arrested or handed to prosecutors rose 3.4 percent to a record 10,860, the National Police Agency said Thursday.

The year-on-year rise primarily stems from an increase in the number of immigration law violations, which jumped 6.1 percent to 5,612 from a year ago, the NPA said.

The report excludes foreign nationals with permanent residency status.

Among the 23,363 cases, the number of serious crimes, including murder and robbery, fell 6.7 percent to 152 cases, with 185 foreigners arrested or handed to prosecutors, down 6.6 percent.

The number of thefts involving foreigners also dropped, by 11.5 percent, to 13,342, with police arresting or turning over to prosecutors cases against 2,274 foreigners, down 0.7 percent.

Despite the fall in overall theft cases, however, auto thefts skyrocketed 102.3 percent to 696, while the number of break-ins jumped 26.8 percent to 4,310.

Overall, police arrested or turned over to prosecutors cases against 4,257 foreigners involved in violations of the Penal Code and relevant laws, down 0.1 percent from the same period last year.

The remaining 6,603 people arrested violated laws unrelated to the Penal Code. These violations, up 5.8 percent, include those related to the alien registration law, drug laws and the immigration control and refugee law.

DNA database

The National Police Agency said Thursday it will start storing DNA information on criminal suspects in a database for use in investigations.

The NPA said it would start using the DNA database on Sept. 1 to cross-reference the information with data from biological evidence — including blood, hair and body fluids — found at crime scenes, the officials said.

DNA information gathered from biological evidence was registered last December, and there were 888 entries as of the end of July.

Under National Public Safety Commission regulations, approved Thursday, the DNA database can only be used for criminal investigations.

The regulations allow the use of only 11 specific types of DNA data, which do not contain genetic information, the officials said.

A panel will consider the need to develop legislative measures on use of DNA after it learns how the NPA will be operating the database.

Prefectural police nationwide had information on the DNA patterns of some 2,100 suspects as of the end of June, and the NPA will immediately compile them to create the database, the officials said.

All information will be managed by the NPA, and local police must erase the data after transferring it to the NPA database.

Police also must delete DNA samples from the database once they are no longer needed for investigative purposes, such as when a suspect dies.

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