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Robbers use teargas in raid on Chinese tourists near Paris

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Robbers use teargas in raid on Chinese tourists near Paris
Photo: AFP
13:28 CEST+02:00
Chinese tourists have once again been targeted by robbers in Paris, who pounced as they boarded their bus near Charles de Gaulle airport.

Around six assailants sprayed teargas on Chinese tourists outside a hotel near Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport on Tuesday and made off with their luggage, police and rescue services said.

Two tourists and an interpreter were slightly injured and taken to hospital, rescue workers said.

The attack occurred around 8:00 am (0600 GMT) as the tourists were loading their luggage onto a tour bus, police told AFP.

"Several bags and personal effects were taken," a police official said, adding that the thieves fled the scene and "several passengers were in shock".

Rescue workers said there were 27 Chinese tourists on a tour run by an Italian company and that the coach driver was Italian.

China has the world's second-largest economy, and its burgeoning and increasingly solvent middle class is travelling abroad in numbers greater than ever before.

But in many countries, particularly France, their reputation for carrying large amounts of cash has made them a target of thieves.

French authorities tightened security around Chinese tourist groups in 2013 after Beijing expressed concern about the increasing number of incidents.

In September last year, a Chinese tourist guide was robbed of 25,000 euros ($28,300) in cash and his new Rolex watch after he had prevented two of his group from being robbed themselves outside a hotel in a Paris suburb.

And in April 2015 a Chinese businessman whose suitcase was stolen at a Paris train station wrote to the French prime minister to call for better security in the capital, while 50,000 Chinese people signed a petition to help get the message across.

In the letter, which was published in full by Le Figaro newspaper, Meng lamented the inadequacy of the French police force in what he says should have been a "straightforward affair".
 
"These things can happen anywhere," he wrote.
 
"But the response to this incident is appalling for the image of the French state, where, evidently, the residents' right to fundamental security doesn't seem to be respected or adequately protected by the police."
 
Tamara Lui, the president of the Chinese-French integration association CFFC, said it's most often Chinese tourists - not residents - who are targeted by thieves in Paris. 
 
"Most of the victims are tourists who typically carry a lot of cash. And they make it quite obvious by flashing around their Louis Vuitton and Channel bags," she told The Local.
 
"No one has exact figures for how many people are targeted, as many of the victims don't go to the police station."
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