BEIJING, July 15 (Reuters) - The number of Chinese mainland residents travelling overseas surged to 38.56 million in the first six months of 2012, a 19.75 percent increase on the same period a year ago, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday.
The top five travel destinations were Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan, the report said, quoting Ministry of Public Security data.
Meanwhile the number of entries into China by foreigners rose 4.6 percent year-on-year in the first half. Most came from South Korea, Japan, the United States, Russia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, the Philippines, Mongolia, and Australia, Xinhua reported.
The total number of mainland residents, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan citizens and foreigners crossing the border during the period was about 76.7 million, 105 million and 26.78 million, respectively, according to a statement from the ministry’s Bureau of Exit and Entry Administration.
Xinhua quoted the ministry as saying that border police had found 1,337 people involved in illegal entry or exit, 24,200 people violating exit and entry laws and regulations, and had seized 343 alleged escapees during the first half of the year. (Reporting by Nick Edwards; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)