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Girls wreak havoc in Metro muggings

Police powerless as teen girl gangs target tourists on the Metro – because they are too young to be held in custody

27 August 2009

THIEVING girl gangs have robbed many hundreds of travellers on the Metro in Paris – and there is little the police can do because they are too young to be arrested and detained.

Most are aged between 12 and 15 but, although police can detain them from the age of 13, they have no way of knowing what age the girls are and have been forced to let them go.

The girls target lone tourists, kicking them to distract them and then grabbing their handbags before jumping off the train as the doors close.

They have no fear of the police and, when caught, battle with officers: kicking, punching, scratching and spitting in their faces.

The girls refuse to give their names or ages and hide their faces when police try to take photographs. Trying to get fingerprints is no more use as they wrench their hands away.

Police say the girls have been wreaking havoc all summer long and come from the camps of Romanian and Serbian refugees that have been set up in the suburbs of Seine-Saint-Denis, Courneuve and Aubervilliers.

They mainly target the Metro lines 1 and 4 and also the spur between the RER station at Champs-de-Mars and Metro Bir Hakeim.

The prefect of police in Paris feels some sort of international action is needed – but until that happens his officers are reduced to holding the girls in the police station for a few hours because they had been travelling without valid transport tickets.
Photo: RATP

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