JUVENILE CRIME RATE UP IN FRENCH POLYNESIA

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PAPEETE, Tahiti (February 16, 1999 - PACNEWS/Radio Australia)---New statistics show juvenile crime is on the rise in French Polynesia.

The figures go against the trend in other Pacific islands where overall crime levels have dropped for the first time in seven years.

The figures show crime among youngsters was up 31 percent last year, compared to 1997, and linked mainly to seizures of the illegal drug cannabis, or marijuana.

Overall, crime dropped by 6.5 percent in French Polynesia during 1998, police report. They also announced a 73-percent success rate in solving crimes across the territory's widely-scattered five archipelagos.

French High Commissioner Jean Airbaud said the crime rate on the islands is one of the lowest of France's overseas territories.

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