A group of migrants who used a government “holiday bonus” to travel to the beach in the town of Alassio were arrested after robbing tourists.
The seven migrants, all aged from 18 to 22 and originally from North Africa and the Ivory Coast, are said to have targetted children. They stole mobile phones, money, and credit cards. The gang is said to live in Turin and came to the seaside town using money provided to them by the government.
According to police, many of the migrants already had criminal histories involving assaults and robberies. Investigators say the gang assaulted their victims by kneeing them in the stomach before beating and robbing them. Police had found stolen goods in the migrants’ hotel rooms, Il Giornale reports.
According to the newspaper, at least four of the victims had to seek hospital treatment for their injuries. Local police described the incidents as being reminiscent of the film A Clockwork Orange.
Police confirmed the gang was behind three robberies. They are currently investigating the migrants’ possible connection to another two thefts in the area. Investigations have also been launched to determine if the gang struck other municipalities in the nearby area, as well.
Migrant crime continues to be a major issue across many parts of Italy. A 2018 report claimed as many as one in three crimes involve suspects from foreign backgrounds despite the migrant population of Italy making up just eight per cent of the overall population.
Nigerian mafia gangs have been at the forefront of foreign criminal gang activity in Italy in recent years, particularly relating to forced prostitution and illegal drug trafficking.
In 2018, it was reported that Nigerian migrant gangs have almost totally taken over the former tourist seaside town of Castel Volturno.