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CRIME

Paris police dismantle crack users’ camp

Paris police have dismantled a camp that is home to over 100 crack users, the latest move in a campaign that has repeatedly displaced the addicts around the capital.

Paris police dismantle crack users' camp
Drug problems have plagued the Stalingrad area of Paris for years (Photo by JOEL SAGET / AFP)

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin wrote on Twitter as the evacuation got under way that, this time, “1,000 officers will be deployed to prevent the camp from reforming somewhere else”.

An AFP journalist saw large numbers of police surround the rubbish-strewn camp from 7:00 am (0500 GMT) in Square Forceval in northeast Paris, with police chief Laurent Nunez on the scene.

Over the past two years, successive evacuations have moved crack users from the Stalingrad square on the city’s Saint-Martin canal, first to a nearby park, and then to their current site alongside the French capital’s ring road.

READ ALSO How Paris plans to tackle its crack-cocaine problem – by moving addicts elsewhere

Tackling the city’s crack problem — visible on the streets for the past three decades — has proved difficult due to the addictiveness of the drug, a cocaine derivative that sells for as little as 10 euros ($9.90) per dose.

Darmanin, a law-and-order hardliner, has given newly-installed Paris police chief Nunez a single year to wipe out crack in the capital.

The interior ministry said that inhabitants of the camp wanted by police would be arrested, while foreigners without papers would be detained awaiting deportation.

“Other occupants will be directed towards accommodation structures with medical and social assistance, or to medical facilities,” the ministry added.

Aid groups say that between 300 and 400 people spend time in the camp during the day and around 150 at night, with up to 40 percent of them women.

Dealers sold crack “rocks” openly among the groups of users.

As at other sites where the addicts have gathered, local residents have complained of assaults, thefts and other disruption since their arrival.

Around 500 people demonstrated last month to mark the camp being in place for a year and demand its removal.

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CRIME

French tax agent ‘kidnapped and killed while conducting an audit’

A French tax inspector was kidnapped and killed, reportedly while carrying out a tax audit in a village in northern France on Monday evening.

French tax agent 'kidnapped and killed while conducting an audit'

The 43-year-old tax agent died on Monday night in northern France, with local media Actu Pas-de-Calais reporting that he was killed by the man whom he was auditing, who later died by suicide.

Emergency services were called to the small village of Bullecourt in the Pas-de-Calais département of northern France at around 8pm. Upon arriving they found two men dead and a woman, reported to be another employee of the tax office, tied up.

She was not believed to be seriously injured but was treated for shock. 

The public prosecutor released a statement saying that both tax agents “were carrying out an at-home audit to check the accounts” of the local man reported to be a brocanteur (antique dealer), who then “kidnapped them and tied them up.” 

“The accused then killed himself with a firearm,” according to the prosecutor’s office. 

The mayor of Bullecourt, a small village of 250 inhabitants, told AFP that he remembered the accused antique dealer as a “helpful” and “ordinary person” who had “integrated into the village.”

Gabriel Attal, the Public Accounts Minister, issued a statement on Monday evening expressing his condolences and saying that the tax agent “was simply doing his job” and that “today, he did not return.” The minister lamented that the agent was “killed while completing a tax audit.”

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