A group of 40 Chinese tourists was attacked and robbed in Paris by four suspects armed with tear gas, according to China‘s embassy.
The tour group had just returned from a shopping trip in the French capital at around 8.20pm on Thursday evening.
But when they made it back to the car park of the Kyriad Hotel they were jumped by the gang who sprayed tear gas at them.
The group then sprinted off with nine bags filled with shopping – including luxury items, according to Xinhua.
A hotel worker told Le Parisien: ‘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.
‘For an hour, it was absolute panic. Many of the tourists asked me to hide their bags.’
It is unclear whether any of the tourists were injured but it is believed two of the group complained about feeling sick before returning to China the following day.
The Chinese Embassy contacted the authorities in France and urged them to track down the suspects.
It also urged Chinese tourists to remain vigilant following the attack on Thursday and described the security situation in France as being ‘grim’.
The Embassy said: ‘The greater Paris region has reported a series of violent muggings and attacks against Chinese tourists and Chinese-French.’
Police in Paris have now launched an investigation.
The Xinhua report said police in Paris had confirmed an investigation was under way.
It comes a year after Chinese tourists were attacked in Aubervilliers, northern Paris, in August 2016.
The incident is reminiscent of the attack on a group of 27 Chinese tourists in the northern Paris suburb of Aubervilliers in August last year.