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LIFE IN PARIS

Paris Metro pickpocketing gang jailed for a total of 113 years

A pickpocket gang that targeted the Paris Metro have been jailed for a total of 113 years.

Paris Metro pickpocketing gang jailed for a total of 113 years
Photo: AFP

The Romanian gang leaders were charged with offences of human trafficking, as well as money laundering and criminal association.

The 20-strong gang, all settled members of the Roma community, had exploited its children by sending them into the Paris Metro system to steal from commuters and tourists, the court heard.

READ ALSO 14 simple ways to avoid Paris pickpockets and petty thieves

Gang members were given sentences of between four and eight years.
 
This three-week trial was the result of investigations which began at the end of 2016 after a sharp increase in pickpocketing in the Metro.
 
Groups of children aged from 11 to 18, stole travellers' phones and wallets, most often on the Metro stairs. While one or more diverted the victims' attention, another stole the objects and passed them on to accomplices who quickly concealed them, before each fled on his own.
 
These bands, which favoured tourist Metro stations such as Gare du Nord, were particularly active during the Euro 2016 football tournament.
 
The investigation involved Franco-Romanian judicial cooperation and ended with the simultaneous arrest in France, Romania, Spain and Italy of the majority of suspects, parents of exploited minors.
 
Pickpocketing has long been a problem on the Paris Metro, with tourists often the targets.
 
The thieves work in organised gangs and often provide diversions such as dropping something or starting an argument, while another member of the gang takes the items.
 
Other techniques include pretending to be tourists and offering confused visitors help with the ticket machines.
 
 

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STRIKES

Striking workers block Paris airport terminal, flights delayed

Striking airport workers have blocked part Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport, with some flights already delayed by at least one hour.

Striking workers block Paris airport terminal, flights delayed
Striking airport workers outside Charles-de-Gaulle airport in Paris. Photo: Geoffroy van der Hasselt | AFP

Last month, trade unions representing workers at the Aéroports de Paris (ADP) – the city’s Charles-de-Gaulle-Roissy and Orly airports – called for a strike between July 1st and July 5th in an ongoing dispute between French airport workers and bosses over contract renegotiations.

A second wave of protests are expected next week, after a strike notice was filed for July 9th.

Tensions mounted on Friday morning as some 400 protesters staged a raucous demonstration at CDG’s terminal 2E, which mostly deals with flights outside the Schengen zone, as police officers looked on.

At Orly airport, meanwhile, some 250 people demonstrated “outside”, while a small group was inside.

The dispute is over a long-term plan by ADP to bring in new work contracts for employees at the airports, which unions say will lower pay, job losses and a reduction in rights and bonuses for employees.

The strike is being jointly called by the CGT, CFE-CGE, Unsa, CFDT and FO unions, who said in a joint press release that the proposals will “definitively remove more than a month’s salary from all employees and force them to accept geographical mobility that will generate additional commuting time”.

Unions say that staff face dismissal if they do not sign the new contracts.

ADP said on Wednesday that it expected ‘slight delays for some flights but no cancellations’ to services – but it urged travellers to follow its social media operations for real-time updates.

On Thursday, the first day of action, 30 percent of flights were delayed between 15 minutes and half-an-hour.

ADP’s CEO Augustin de Romanet had said on Tuesday that ‘everything would be done to ensure no flight is cancelled’. 

ADP reported a loss of €1.17 billion in 2020. 

Stressing that discussions are continuing over the proposed new contracts, the CEO called for “an effort of solidarity, with a red line: no forced layoffs.”

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