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Youths charged with muggings in Chinese district near Paris

Chinese from the Aubervilliers textiles district protest after Zhang Chaolin's death in 2016 BERTRAND GUAY / AFP

Three young men have been charged with robbery with violence and criminal conspiracy over a series of thefts in a Chinese business district just outside Paris. The Asian community staged demonstrations against assaults in the area after the death of a Chinese-origin man in 2016.

The three men, aged between 19 and 21, are suspected of having committed 16 violent robberies in Aubervilliers, an area just north of Paris which is home to the largest import-export hub with China in Europe.

They were charged and detained on Saturday after being arrested on Wednesday.

There has been a rise of such muggings since March and most of the victims are of Asian origin, police sources told the AFP news agency this weekend.

In one morning alone, on 27 March, there were four by assailants driving a powerful scooter.

There was an eruption of anger in the community in August 2016 when 49-year-old Zhang Chaolin, who worked in textiles, died after being mugged in the area.

A youth was jailed for two years for the assault and two others, aged 17 and 19, are to face a juvenile court at a later date.

They hit him and grabbed his bag, which only contained a mobile phone charger and some sweets.