Subject: UN report shows increase in E.Timor violent crime

UN report shows increase in E.Timor violent crime

DILI, May 18 (Reuters) - Violent crime increased sharply in East Timor last year and the victims were mostly women, a United Nations police report on criminal activity in the territory said.

Violence, assault, theft, intimidation, property damage and burglary were the five most common offences and accounted for 85 percent of all crimes in territory.

U.N. Civilian Police (CivPol) recorded 761 incidents of crime between July and September last year, compared with 582 the previous quarter, and said that the trend had continued into 2001.

East Timor's capital Dili, with a population of around 120,000 people, had the worst crime rate, with 389 offences -- 51 percent of the total for the U.N.-administered territory.

"Firstly, the general trend of robbery in Dili shows a consistent increase in reported and or known cases since the first of January 2001," the report said.

"Most of the robbery attacks by these individuals using this 'modus operandi' have been against women or a man and a woman together," it added.

East Timor is coming to terms with its quasi independence following an overwhelming 1999 vote to break away from 23 years of often brutal Indonesian rule in a U.N.-brokered ballot.

The poll triggered a wave of killings and destruction by pro-Jakarta militia, backed by elements of Indonesia's military.

The U.N. estimates that more than 1,000 people were killed and most of the territory's 800,000 people fled their homes.

The territory is still under U.N. administration and is expected to become fully independent early next year.

The U.N. report on crime, obtained by Reuters on Friday, dealt specifically with recent cases of assault and found that robbery was the motive in two stabbing incidents last month involving foreign women.

One of the victims was the Australian-born wife of East Timor independence leader Xanana Gusmao.

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