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‘Public safety is really bad in France’

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.

'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

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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CRIME

French police shoot dead knife-wielding man at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport

French Border police at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris shot - and killed - man who was wielding a knife in the public area of the airport on Wednesday.

French police shoot dead knife-wielding man at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport

Border police reportedly shot a man with aggressive behaviour who brandished a knife in the public area of the Charles de Gaulle airport outside of Paris, on Wednesday morning, police and airport sources told AFP.

“This morning officers neutralised a threatening individual in possession of a knife at the Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport,” the Paris police department said on its Twitter account.

A source close to the investigation told BFMTV that the man – who was likely homeless – went towards the officers, despite being asked several times to put the knife down. In response, police shot the man in the abdomen, and the individual later died.

The incident took place in the busy, public area of terminal 2F around 8:20 am, when “a homeless man started bothering security agents and border police were called in to remove him”.

Initially the man left while yelling curses but he soon returned and brought out a knife, when one of the officers fired his weapon.

An AFP photographer who witnessed the scene said “a large person of colour brandished something that looked like a knife at the police”.

“He was ordered to stop but kept advancing toward them, and an officer fired a single shot.”

The man was quickly put on a stretcher and evacuated, the photographer said. 

Security forces have been on high alert for terrorist attacks since a wave of jihadist killings that have killed more than 250 people since 2015, often by so-called “lone wolves” who often target police.

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