PHUKET TOWN: The number of crimes in Phuket increased by 2.5 percent to 3,065 last year, according to figures handed to the Gazette by Phuket Provincial Police earlier this week. Arrests also increased, climbing 5.9 percent to 4,504 in 1998. Police said the increase in criminal activity on the island was due to Thailand’s economic slump, rising unemployment having forced some people to turn to crime. But they noted that the year-on-year increase was only marginal and suggested the situation was well in hand. A total of 2,990 crimes were reported in 1997, resulting in 4,255 arrests. In 1998, 3,065 crimes were committed and 4,504 people were arrested. Two of Phuket’s seven police districts recorded decreases in crimes and arrests during the period: Kathu (cases down 7.3 percent; arrests down 2.7 percent) and Tah Chat Chai (cases down 11.6 percent; arrests down 3.8 percent.). The biggest increase in the number of criminal cases was recorded in the Thung Thong police precinct where 136 crimes were reported, an increase of 18.3 percent over 1997. Muang and Cherng Talay police precincts recorded the biggest increases in arrests: Muang police arrested 1,817 people, an increase of 13.6 percent, while Cherng Talay apprehended 163 people, up 13.2 percent over 1997. Muang police station recorded the largest number of cases: 1,403.
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