July 9, 2006

S.Africa police arrest 500

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African police arrested more
than 500 people in Johannesburg this weekend as the country
tried to clean up its image as one of the world's most
crime-ridden nations, local media reported.

South Africa's high level of violent crime, among the worst
in the world, has again come under the spotlight as it prepares
to host the next soccer World Cup in 2010.

Local officials and world football body FIFA have rejected
reports that South Africa may lose the tournament to another
country, such as Australia, because of its shocking crime rate
and poor infrastructure and transport.

Johannesburg police regularly conduct raids on the city's
rundown inner city -- a crime hot spot in the nation's
financial heartland.

The arrests were made in suburbs on Johannesburg's East
Rand, SAPA news agency said. The offences ranged from assault
and possession of drugs arms to illegal immigration.