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News 306 views last update:Feb 7, 2008

So-called pigjackers on rampage in China

Soaring pork prices in China have led to thieves running off with truckloads of hogs. This new breed of criminal that has been termed a 'pigjacker'.

A gang was stopped last year in Shenzhen attempting to drive away with around 275 pounds (125kg) of pork with a value of up to US$420 on a motorbike.

China's leaders are seriously worried about the pork shortage problem. Memories of Tiananmen Square are fresh in their minds. They fear mass unrest resulting from the current situation as 65% of the country's total meat consumption is pork.

Food prices in general, and pork in particular, have been increasing rapidly for months. Demand is outstripping supply against a background of rising grain prices and an epidemic of "blue ear disease" forcing the mass culling of thousands of hogs.

Beijing has put some of the country's official pork reserve aside should a sudden crisis break out. China's problem regarding agricultural shortages is predicted to worsen.

What was once a major exporting country of corn, may become an importer having a serious effect on global grain prices.

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