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What make criminals target overseas Chinese?

(People's Daily Online)

14:04, August 10, 2012

The public security situation has deteriorated seriously in much of the world lately, placing the life and property of overseas Chinese at greater risk.

Different sufferings

According to the U.S.-based World Journal, Chinese communities in Los Angeles' East San Gabriel Valley area have seen a poor public security situation lately, and the homes of many local Chinese residents have been robbed. Ms. Zheng of Chinese descent was recently robbed at her home in the city of Walnut. The burglar broke in through a window of the master bedroom on the second floor, and stole 5,000 yuan and several pieces of jewelry.

The United Kingdom, the host nation of the ongoing Olympic Games, has also met many public order problems. About 1,700 London residents fall victim to pickpockets every day in the past two years, according to the latest official crime figures. British police recently arrested four Eastern Europeans in London's Chinatown for posing as police offers to cheat people out of their money.

British thieves' common tricks include faking drunk, posing as plainclothes police, and pretending to ask for directions. Chinese girl Yan Shanshan and her friend recently met a seemingly drunken man at a cafe in London. After helping the man up at his request, Yan's friend lost her handbag and single-lens reflex camera in a few seconds, and the “drunken” man also disappeared to nowhere.

Overseas Chinese businesspeople are having a hard time amid the European debt crisis, and public order problems in certain areas have made their situation even worse. A serious incident of robbery occurred at a wholesale market made up of Chinese businesspeople in Aubervilliers, north of Paris, last month, leaving four people severely injured. The local Chinese business people's public order association immediately held an emergency enlarged meeting, which later became a triggering factor for the establishment of key public order areas in France.

Complex causes

Places with high rates of robbery and theft tend to suffer from police shortages. Although the number of police officers in London has reached a record high of 32,000, the city is still facing a police shortage given the 3 million visitors during the Olympic Games and the already poor public order situation in the Chinatown. A London police offer said with frustration that as there are 1 million extra subway passengers every day during the Olympics, tourists should enhance vigilance despite increased police presence.

At the same time, overseas Chinese themselves have some problems that make them easy targets for criminals. For example, Chinese are more willing to put cash as well as gold and silver ornaments at home than foreigners, which makes it easier for criminals to get away with stealing or other crimes. Furthermore, most Chinese women have a weak character, and tend to keep silent after encountering criminal incidents. Lack of awareness of protecting one's own rights is another important reason why Chinese people are a frequent target for criminals.

The proliferation of firearms in certain countries is also a major threat to public order. The number of illegal guns has been on a steady rise in certain countries in recent years, but these countries have not made legal efforts to curb this phenomenon, putting the life and property of overseas Chinese at great risk.

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