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Beijing cracks down on manhole cover thefts

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Beijing’s utilities are cracking down on manhole cover thefts by removing the incentive to steal them. A pilot program is using a new material with negligible recycling value in over 2,921 installations of various types.

“We are still looking for the perfect substitutes for the manhole covers,” said city spokesman Wang Xin.

Over 240,000 covers were stolen from Beijing’s streets in 2004, nearly half of the 600,000 installations scattered throughout the city.

The high recycling value of the metal used to manufacture the previous models led to a crime wave of thefts, driven by illegal scrap metal dealers who purchased them for approximately US$2.4 dollars.

The covers cost between US$145 and US$182 to replace.

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