236 people allegedly involved in illegal mining, transporting and selling sand have been arrested and 85 criminal cases resolved in provinces along the Yangtze River basin, the Ministry of Public Security said on Monday.
The police also busted 24 criminal gangs connected to illegal mining and seized 73 ships, with the involved assets totaling about 17 million yuan ($2.6 million).
In January, the ministry launched a yearlong operation against illegal sand mining in the Yangtze River. It deployed public security organs in the 10 provinces and municipalities along the river — Shanghai, Jiangsu, Anhui, Jiangxi, Hubei, Hunan, Chongqing, Sichuan, Guizhou and Yunnan — to crack down on the crime.
Li Jingsheng, the director of the ministry’s security administration, said that illegal sand mining in the Yangtze River basin endangers its environment, flood control security and navigation channel safety.
In recent years, the departments concerned have intensified the crackdown on illegal activities on the river, but many have been driven by profit as sand prices increase and have used more advanced and unusual methods to mine sand, Li said.
The Yangtze River Protection Law, which took effect Monday, provides a sound legal guarantee for the protection of the river. The police will focus on curbing the mining, transportation and selling of sand to destroy criminal chains, Li said.
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