Thirty-three suspects have been arrested for stealing mobile phones in downtown Shanghai and selling them, police said, adding that more than 200 phones were found in a raid yesterday.
Police in Hongkou District said they had discovered the suspected pickpockets at the beginning of this year at Metro stations near shops in Sichuan Road N., Qipu Road and the Cloud Nine Mall.
The suspects usually operated in pairs during peak times, police said. They would jostle people getting onto trains and steal phones and wallets.
The police said the pickpockets would throw the stolen phones into trash bins and accomplices would arrive later to pick them up.
The accomplices were paid 100 yuan () per phone, police said.
Hongkou police said they had arrested 156 pickpockets belonging to 35 gangs in 117 cases since the beginning of this year, involving thefts totaling 500,000 yuan.