• Kyodo

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Police tapped phone calls while investigating 12 cases last year that led to 79 arrests, both new records, the Justice Ministry said Friday.

The ministry said all of the intercepted calls were made via mobile phones. The previous records were 11 cases in 2008 and 47 arrests in 2010.

Eight of the cases last year were related to smuggling and trafficking of drugs, while the rest were about Firearm and Sword Control Law violations or the organized crime punishment law, including an attempted murder, officials said.

Telephone taps are limited to four types of crime — drugs, firearms, organized murders and group stowaway cases.

A panel under the Justice Ministry’s Legislative Council, which advises the minister, is discussing whether to expand that to wire transfer fraud and theft involving organized crime.

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