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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, May 6) - The Fiji government says
it is embarrassed by the rising incidence of robbery sexual offences.

The attorney general, Qoroniasi Bale, made the admission in
parliament while submitting a bill to increase penalties for such offences.

Armed robberies and assaults have been attracting increasing
concern and have enraged the business sector and foreign investors.

Bale says it cannot be denied that there has been an undesirable
increase in these offences and the government is determined to take action.

The bill seeks to give powers to the courts to impose harsher
sentences to deter such crimes.

Under the measure, current penalties for robbery and sexual
offences would be doubled or more.

May 6, 2003

Radio New Zealand International:

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