Friday, December 2, 2011

Beijing to crack down on 'black jails' run by private security firms

Beijing's public security bureau has launched a six-month crackdown on so-called black jails operated by private security firms in the Chinese capital.

Local governments hire the firms to stop people who travel to Beijing to voice grievances about perceived injustices in their areas.

The police say the firms are involved in illegal detention, violence and running underground jails.

The government usually prefers not to admit these kind of operations exist.

The latest details come from newspaper reports about a campaign to stamp out unauthorised security firms in the capital.

Zhang Bing, deputy head of Beijing's public security bureau, was quoted as saying there are about 300,000 private security guards in the city.

He said more than half worked for companies that were unlicensed, the Beijing News reported.

"The city's security market is in complete chaos. Some companies have been operating outside the law," he said, according to another newspaper, the Global Times.

Speaking to reporters, Mr Zhang went on to describe some of the activities undertaken by these unauthorised security firms.

"A few have even allowed their security guards to impede the flow of government work and to participate in illegal activities, such as detaining people and setting up black jails," he is reported to have said.

Black jails are temporary detention centres established to hold petitioners, people who come to Beijing to report individual problems to the central government. more