Chinese police will help patrol tourist destinations in Paris this summer after a rise in muggings and attacks on Chinese tourists, a source in France's interior ministry said on Tuesday.
The China.org site, reported that French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve had said that the government invited the Chinese police officers who will patrol tourist spots and serve as interpreters for Chinese tourists.
The site quoted Nouvelles d'Europe, another Chinese-run news group, as saying that at least 10 Chinese officers would be coming to Paris, adding that France’s interior ministry declined to confirm that figure.
Around 1.5 million Chinese tourists visited France last year, spending around 571 euros, according to official figures.This year’s numbers are sharply higher.
They have been boosted by events linked to the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Paris and Beijing, and because the French have simplified the visa application process for Chinese applicants. Millionaires in China rate France as their top destination.
At the same time, petty crimes against Chinese nationals jumped 22 percent in the first quarter of 2013, a Paris police official told Reuters. He said Asian tourists were targeted because they were known to carry a lot of cash on them.
In March last year, a group of 23 Chinese visitors was robbed in a restaurant shortly after they landed at Paris's Charles De Gaulle airport. In June, six Chinese wine-making students were assaulted in Bordeaux.
A group of 75 French luxury brands including Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Dior and Hermes warned in 2013 that Chinese tourists, the world's top spenders, might start going to London or Milan instead as they view Paris as dangerous.
Last summer, the Chinese Embassy in Paris demanded action and it appears the French government has responded.
The specific arrangement is still under negotiation, and will be revealed to the public soon, the Police Liaison Section of Chinese Embassy in France said.
Last year, French police issued a "Guide to staying safe in Paris" - translated into Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Spanish - advising tourists to carry a minimum of cash, favour small banknotes and watch out for gangs of teenagers, commonly from eastern Europe, who pick pockets while conducting phoney petitions.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
Date created : 2014-05-07