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Police In Russia's Far East Hunt Gang After Attacks On Officers

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia -- Police in Primorye Krai in Russia’s Far East have launched an operation to find a criminal group believed to be behind a series of attacks on police, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

A policeman was shot dead in the village of Rakitnoye in Dalnerechensk district on May 27, and three officers were wounded in two separate attacks near the town of Spassk in late May and early June.

In another incident, a group of attackers burned a police station in the village of Varfolomeyevka in the region's Yakovlev district on May 15.

RFE/RL's correspondent said police helicopters have been flying over local forests. All vehicles on highways are being flagged down and checked by security service officers and police.

Viktor Bulavintsev, a local crime expert, told RFE/RL he does not rule out a connection with an anonymous letter sent to several police stations recently which calls on the local authorities to start establishing order within the police ranks and the regional justice system. The letter's authors warn that they will continue to "establish order by their own means" if their demands are not met.

Police are also looking into whether the attacks might be connected to a struggle for control over the local timber business.