This Article is From Jul 01, 2016

Police Raid Italy's 'Chinese Mafia' Over Race Crime

Police Raid Italy's 'Chinese Mafia' Over Race Crime

Friday's raids were carried out under warrants issued for criminal association and commissioning racially motivated violence.

Rome, Italy: Italian police said Friday they had raided nine premises as part of an investigation into a Chinese criminal gang they suspect of being behind a spate of attacks on North Africans.

The raids were carried out in the Tuscan town of Prato, home to one of the biggest Chinese communities in Europe and a booming textiles industry that is notorious for sweatshop exploitation.

The individuals being investigated are all linked to a Chinese cultural association "The City of the White Stag" and are also suspected of preying on law-abiding Chinese businesses.

Friday's raids were carried out under warrants issued for criminal association and commissioning racially motivated violence.

A police statement said the head of the White Stag group had organised vigilante style patrols in Prato as part of a protection racket which had led to attacks on Arab immigrants with no criminal connections.

The raids followed clashes between police and some 300 Chinese on Wednesday evening after a health-and-safety inspection of a Chinese-owned textile factory in Sesto Fiorentino, a suburb of Florence that is close to Prato.

The mini-riot was sparked after an altercation between officers and an elderly Chinese man who was stopped leaving the factory with a baby in his arms, according to local reports. Four policemen and three workers were injured in the scuffles.