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'Public safety is really bad in France'

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'Public safety is really bad in France'
French police outside the Novotel where €1 million worth of jewellery was stolen last week. Photo: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP
08:30 CEST+02:00
An angry Chinese film producer had some harsh words to say about France this week, suggesting the country had a problem with public safety and arrogance after being the victim of a burglary at the Cannes Film Festival.

As the darker side of Cannes Film Festival reared its ugly head once again a Chinese film producer has blasted France for its “really bad” level of public safety after he was the victim of a burglary.

Zhang Qiang expressed his outrage on his blog just days after the apartment he was renting in the resort was targeted by thieves.

The vice president of the powerful state conglomerate China Film Company discovered the apartment he had hired out for the festival had been targeted when he returned home from dinner last Thursday.

The angry producer was not just unhappy at having his belongings stolen but also appeared cheesed off with the attitude shown by the managers at the Pierre et Vacances-run complex.

“The hotel management has proved indifferent and asked me to call the police myself, saying they could only change the lock. They did not even want to look at the apartment,” Qiang said.

“Public safety in France is really bad and in the face of such arrogance, I would think twice about coming to the festival,” he said.

After his angry outburst became the talk of the town in Cannes, festival organizers, authorities and the directors of the hotel chain Pierre et Vacances all issued apologies, French daily Le Parisien reported.

It is not the first time security issues have marred the festival this year. On Friday thieves stole Chopard jewellery worth up to €1 million from a safe in a room at the Novotel hotel.

In a scenario itself worthy of a movie, thieves entered the hotel room of an American woman employee of Swiss bijoutier Chopard and ripped out the strongbox in the wardrobe, according to police reports.

And later that night a man armed with a gun loaded with blanks and a false grenade was arrested after he fired in the air during the shooting of a French TV programme.

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