The Chinese embassy in Paris has lodged complaints, stating that Chinese nationals have been scammed with fake fines by fraudsters pretending to be enforcing Islamic veil laws on those wearing masks.
The embassy claimed that Chinese students wearing medical masks were asked to hand over 150 euros by “police” who they later confirmed with officials in the Paris police were criminals pretending to be officers.
“After checking with the French police and justice, these are criminals posing as police. Wearing a mask for health reasons is absolutely not illegal,” the embassy said in an official statement, Le Parisien reports.
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The law which bans the burqa and the niqab was passed in 2011 and was the first such law in Europe to fine wearers of the Islamic garments that either cover the entire face, or everything except the eyes, in the case of the niqab.
Other European countries, such as Austria, have undertaken similar bans in recent years. The Austrian law extends to most masks that totally cover the wearer’s face, with the exceptions of medical masks, masks for cultural events, or scarves wrapped around a person’s face in the cold.
The Chinese Embassy in Paris has also claimed that criminals in France have been posing as health service agents in order to gain access to the homes of Chinese nationals living in the country and rob them.
While the French government has not recommended people wear medical masks, wearing such items is not prohibited under the anti-burqa law.
France has seen a rise in the number of coronavirus cases in recent days, with over 1,000 confirmed cases reported on Monday and 19 deaths as a result of the virus which first appeared in Wuhan, China.
Olivier Véran, the French Minister of Health, has also decreed a ban on gatherings of 1,000 or more people in order to stem the spread of the virus.
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