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CRIME

Chinese tourists tear gassed and robbed at hotel near Paris

An attack on a group of Chinese tourists in a Paris suburb has led to fresh fears over the safety of holidaymakers in the French capital.

Chinese tourists tear gassed and robbed at hotel near Paris
The Kyriad Photo: Google Streetview
The 40 Chinese tourists were robbed by four attackers armed with tear gas in a hotel car park in a Paris suburb. 
 
The holidaymakers were outside the Kyriad Hotel in the suburb of Fresnes in the department of Val-de-Marne, to the south east of the French capital, after returning from a shopping trip when the incident took place at about 8.20pm on Thursday. 
 
The four attackers ran into the car park and sprayed the tourists with tear gas before fleeing the scene with eight shopping bags and a backpack containing luxury items, according to Le Parisien
 
The exact value of the stolen goods had not yet been calculated. 
 
“I heard screams, and when I looked out the window, I saw two people assaulting a Chinese guide, and I saw others using tear gas against the tourists,” a hotel worker was quoted as saying in Le Parisien.
 
“For an hour, it was absolute panic … Many of them [tourists] asked me to hide their bags.”
 
READ ALSO:

Chinese petition urges Paris to fight crime

Photo: AFP

So far there have been no serious injuries reported from the attack which took place in front of 30 other Chinese tourists who had just arrived in France.
 
An investigation into the attack is under way.
 
Previous attacks
 
The event has sparked renewed fears of violence against holidaymakers after similar incidents that haven taken place in recent years, including several involving Chinese tourists.  
 
And the Chinese embassy has responded to the attack with a warning to Chinese people planning to visit France that the security situation in the country is “grim”.
 
“The greater Paris region has reported a series of violent muggings and attacks against Chinese tourists and Chinese-French,” it said, according to a report in the South China Morning Post
 
In July this year The Local reported how a group of Americans were among 19 tourists who were robbed by masked men armed with tear gas as they waited outside their hotel at Charles-de-Gaulle airport to the north of Paris.
 
In 2016, The Local reported on another incident that saw Chinese tourists pounced on by six assailants as they boarded their bus near Charles de Gaulle airport.
 
French authorities tightened security around Chinese tourist groups in 2013 after Beijing expressed concern about the increasing number of incidents.
 
In September 2015, 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.
 
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.

 
However it isn't just the Chinese community that has been targeted by thieves. 
 
In July, a group of American holidaymakers were among 19 tourists who were robbed by masked men armed with tear gas as they waited outside their hotel at Charles-de-Gaulle airport to the north of Paris.
 
The group included four Americans, 12 French and three Moroccans were waiting for a shuttle bus to arrive.

PARIS

IN PICTURES: Storms and flash flooding hit Paris

Much of France is on weather alert for storms after last week's heatwave broke and on Tuesday afternoon torrential rain hit Paris, caused flash flooding that has closed some Metro stations.

IN PICTURES: Storms and flash flooding hit Paris

After a week of scorching temperatures France’s heatwave has now broken and Météo France has issued storm warnings for much of the country.

The first affected areas are predicted to be in the south of France, where some areas could see up to 40mm of rain in an hour and winds of up to 100km/h.

READ ALSO Storms and high winds: What can we expect from the weather in France this week?

Paris is only under a yellow alert, but when the rain hit late on Tuesday afternoon it was extremely heavy, leading to flash flooding in some streets and Metro stations.

At least 26mm of rain fell in a single hour, according to the weather station at Parc Montsouris, while estimates for the entire duration of the storm are 44mm.

Meanwhile the weather station on the Eiffel Tower registered gusts of wind of 104km/h.

At least eight Metro stations were temporarily closed because of the flooding in the stations, although there do not appear to be any stoppages on any Metro lines, the airport link OrlyVal was briefly halted.

Météo France does not expect major flooding in the Paris region.

Unfortunately the storms are unlikely to alleviate France’s drought – the worst in 60 years – since water from sudden downpours tends to run off parched land, rather than soaking in. 

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