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Versailles pickpocket steals €10k from tourist

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Versailles pickpocket steals €10k from tourist
A Chinese tourist at the Chateau de Versailles lost €10k to a pickpocket. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/ AFP
11:57 CEST+02:00
Chinese tourists have once again proved rich pickings for thieves in Paris when one visitor tothe Chateau de Versailles lost a staggering €10,500 when thieves rifled through his pockets. Chinese tourists have been warned not to carry wads of cash.

Rated as one of the top destinations among the more than one million Chinese tourists that visit France every year,the Chateau de Versailles has also become a favourite spot for thieves.

For one unlucky (or daft, depending on how sympathetic you are) 35-year-old Chinese tourist, it meant he lost €10,500 - the best part of his holiday budget -  when pickpockets targeted him as he queued, Le Parisien newspaper reported.

Known for their love of shopping and for carrying wads of cash around, Chinese tourists visiting France have become increasingly targeted by thieves in recent years.

With the Chinese culture favouring payments in cash rather than by credit card, thieves know the tourists could provide some rich pickings.

This has caused concern for French authorities who are eager to improve the image of France so as not to scare off Chinese visitors and whose increased spending power is proving more and important to the French tourism industry.

In January, for example, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius announced that Chinese visitors would get fast track visas to make it easier for them to come to France.

In a bid to limit the damage caused by the thefts, France has stepped up security around Paris tourist attractions and has also urged shoppers to use credit cards instead of cash.

Earlier this year, Paris police announced plans to draft reinforcements from Beijing ahead of the busy summer season when tourist thefts are at an all-year high, but the plans were later scrapped because of the "technical and administrative implications".

by Louise Nordstrom

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