Chinese police to patrol in Milan

Experimental cooperation with Italian police.

Officers from the Beijing police force are being deployed to Milan and Rome to help local police patrol the “Chinatown” community.

Two Chinese policemen in each city will begin joint patrols with carabinieri on 3 May for a two-week trial phase of cooperation. In the second week, they will be assigned to immigration offices.

The aim of the experiment is to combat the Chinese residents’ perceived “natural” diffidence towards the forces of law and order, and to help their Italian colleagues penetrate the wall of omertà surrounding the operations of Asiatic organised crime groups. If the trial run is successful, local media quote sources as saying, the scheme could be extended.

Milan is – after Rome – the Italian city with the largest Chinese community, numbering over 16,000 and concentrated around the Via Paolo Sarpi area. The city’s Chinatown is widely believed to provide a base for criminal gangs specialising in contraband of counterfeit goods and drugs, as well as extortion rackets.

In recent years, this area suffered a series of killings and punishment raids among gangsters, and the level of integration was considered poor, even among second-generation immigrants. More recently, however, police sources have reported a more marked openness in the Chinese community and greater cooperation in investigations.