Kardashian robbery another blow for the image of Paris

Chinese tourists, members of the Saudi Royal family and now US TV star Kim Kardashian. The victims of high-profile robberies in Paris are adding up and it’s not good news for a city whose image has taken a hit recently.

Kardashian robbery another blow for the image of Paris
TV crews wait outside the residence where Kardashian was robbed. Photo: AFP

As would be expected news that Kim Kardashian had been robbed of €10 million worth of jewellery during an armed robbery in Paris made headlines around the world on Monday.

Even if many on social media displayed little sympathy for the mega-rich reality TV star who had a €4 million ring and a €6 million jewellery box stolen, it’s clear she endured a horrifying ordeal.

If reports are correct she was woken up when robbers forced themselves into her room at a residence near the Madeleine church, had a gun held to her head and was tied up and locked in the bathroom until help eventually came.

The robbery could also prove to be a different kind of ordeal for Paris authorities with some politicians quickly jumping on the crime to highlight the “urgent” issue of safety in Paris.

It comes after numerous other high profile robberies that have targeted members of the Saudi royal family and visitors from China.

Kardashian's robbery, the type of which is no doubt extremely rare, does show that some thieves in Paris are not scared to target the most wealthy and most famous.

(Kim Kardashian (left) at the Paris fashion week. AFP)

Centre-right presidential hopeful Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet said the robbery demonstrated “the general emergency around security” in Paris.

For NKM, urgent measures need to be taken to protect the image of Paris as a safe place for all tourists, including the mega-rich.

“There is a general emergency around security in Paris,” she said. “The powers that be and the City Hall are not reactive enough,” she said.

She said the story will only harm the image of Paris as a destination for tourists.

“We feel for her because what she went through was violent and traumatic. But we also feel for the image of Paris,” said Kosciusko-Morizet, who is hoping to win the centre-right presidential primary in November.

“What happened to her will be broadcast non-stop on all the news channels around the world. Do you know what kind of bad publicity that will bring?

(TV crews and journalists outside the residence where Kim Kardashian was robbed. AFP)

“We can have all the marketing we want for Paris, which costs a lot of money. But all this advertising is rendered pointless by what happened to Kim Kardashian,” she said.

While not many tourists in Paris will be as wealthy as Kardashian or choose to have €10 million worth of jewellery in their hotel rooms, the nature and audacity of the robbery will no doubt put some people off at a time when Paris could do without any more knocks to its image.

“The image of the “city of glamour”, so dear to [mayor] Anne Hidalgo has once again taken a knock abroad,” wrote one member of the public on Twitter.

The terror attacks of 2015 have led to a seven percent drop in the number of visitors to Paris this year. Wealthy American visitors were among those groups who have chosen to stay away out of fear over security.

But it’s not just terror attacks.

There have been other high profile robberies on foreign visitors in recent months and years.

In August a Saudi princess told police she was attacked in central Paris and robbed of a €1 million ($1.1 million) watch.

And in September last year thieves snatched a €180,000 watch from the wrist of a Saudi prince outside the five-star hotel he was staying in near the Louvre museum in Paris.

The three-man gang had been loitering near the hotel looking for rich guests to prey upon.

Perhaps the most audacious robbery on a member of the Saudi royal family was in 2014 when gunmen armed with Kalashnikovs attacked his motorcade.

There have also been numerous robberies of Chinese tourists in and around the French capital as thieves know they often carry large bundles of cash on them.

On top of that there have also been numerous high profile and brazen armed robberies on jewellers in Paris wealthiest areas like Place Vendôme.

And ongoing issues with pickpockets and street scams still continue to blight trips for the tourists who don't get driven around in limousines.

Of course it must be said the vast majority of visitors to Paris have no trouble during their stay and are extremely unlikely to be the victim of the kind of robbery experienced by Kardashian.

A point made by mayor Anne Hidalgo.

Hitting back at criticism of security in Paris Hidalgo stressed the attack on Kim Kardashian was a “very rare act, occurring in a private area” which “does not call into question the safety in public areas of Paris.”

Hidalgo pointed to the weekend's Nuit Blanche all night party in Paris, which was attended by two million visitors as evidence that the streets of the French capital were safe.

Nevertheless Paris City Hall might have to boost the marketing budget once again to repair some of the damage that will inevitably be caused by the robbery of arguably the world's biggest “celebrity”. 


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