Syringe victims receive 'all clear' | Shanghai Daily

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September 14, 2009

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Syringe victims receive 'all clear'

TESTS of victims' samples found no dangerous viruses or chemicals involved in the wake of a string of bizarre syringe stabbings in Urumqi, capital of China's far western Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, a military medical expert said yesterday.

Qian Jun, head of the disease control and biological security office with China's Academy of Military Medical Sciences, said the academy's Beijing laboratory found no needle injury samples were tainted with radioactive substances, toxic chemicals or the HIV virus.

The samples were not contaminated with other dangerous viruses or substances either, such as anthrax, Qian told a press briefing.

Local and military medical experts have rechecked about 250 victims and found no clearly worsening wounds or serious illnesses, he said.

Counseling offer

By September 4, local authorities had confirmed 531 victims of syringe stabbings in Urumqi, 171 of whom showed obvious needle. Most victims were of the Han ethnic group.

Tens of thousands of angry residents in Urumqi took to the streets last week, protesting the attacks and demanding security guarantees.

Qian suggested offering more psychological counseling to ease the anxiety and depression of victims haunted by fears of hidden infections.

The Urumqi General Hospital affiliated to the Lanzhou Military Area Command has arranged three psychological experts and opened four counseling hotlines to help ease victims' fears.

Wang Wenxian, deputy director of the Urumqi's public security bureau, said the needle stabbings did not cause serious damage to the victims' physical health, but they caused public panic and disturbed social order.

The acts violated criminal law and should be harshly punished, Wang said.

A court in Urumqi said three Uygurs were given jail terms ranging from seven to 15 years on Saturday over syringe stabbings or threatening to use needle attacks for the purpose of robberies.

Wang said more police would patrol the city's streets and those who offered tip-offs for needle attackers would receive rewards.

He also urged the attackers to surrender to the police, saying those who surrender or report others' crimes could receive lighter punishment.




 

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