No injuries reported, but incident renews fears of violence against holidaymakers after similar incident last year
A Chinese tour group was attacked and robbed in Paris on Thursday evening by four assailants armed with tear gas, according to China’s embassy in France.
The 40 holidaymakers had just returned from a shopping trip and were milling in the car park of the Kyriad Hotel in the Val-de-Marne suburb of the city at about 8.20pm, according to newspaper Le Parisien.
The four suspects ran into the car park and began spraying tear gas at the tourists, Xinhua cited local media reports as saying. The assailants then made off with nine bags filled with shopping, including many luxury items, though the exact value had not yet been calculated, it said.
“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 the report by Le Parisien.
“For an hour, it was absolute panic … Many of them [tourists] asked me to hide their bags.”
The report did not say if anyone was hurt in the attack, but said two of the tourists complained of feeling sick. The group returned to China on Friday.
The Chinese embassy said it had contacted French police and urged them to solve the case and bring the perpetrators to justice as soon as possible.
It also issued a warning to all Chinese planning to visit France, describing the security situation in the country as “grim”.
“The greater Paris region has reported a series of violent muggings and attacks against Chinese tourists and Chinese-French,” it said.
The Xinhua report said police in Paris had confirmed an investigation was under way.
The incident is reminiscent of the attack on Chinese tourists in the northern Paris suburb of Aubervilliers in August last year.
The 27 holidaymakers were set upon by a gang of six men, again armed with tear gas, as they boarded a bus to take them to the airport for their flight home.
In a separate incident, also in August 2016, 49-year-old textile designer Zhang Chaolin died in hospital five days after being assaulted on a residential street in the Paris suburb of Aubervilliers.
The father of two intervened when three men tried to steal his friend’s bag and was beaten to the ground. He hit his head on the pavement and fell into a coma from which he never recovered.
The incident triggered massive demonstrations on the streets of Paris as the local Chinese community protested against violence and racism.