China sends policeman to Rio Olympics to protect citizens in city notorious for high crime rate

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 August, 2016, 12:45pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 August, 2016, 11:24pm

China has sent not just athletes to the Rio Olympics, but also a policeman.

The officer was dispatched to the Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as a security backup for Chinese nationals competing and touring the city that is notorious for its poor public safety, state media reported.

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The policeman, whose official title is temporary police communication officer, arrived in Rio two months ago to prepare for his role.

This is the first time China has sent such an officer to Brazil, according to state media. The country has previously sent policemen to Rome and Milan to protect Chinese tourists in those cities.

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“My main job is to strengthen communication with the Rio police so that we can better protect the safety of Chinese sports delegates, tourists, journalists as well as all Chinese citizens in Rio,” Shao Weimin, the policeman, said during the Chinese flag-raising ceremony at the Olympic village on Wednesday.

“We will contact local police and authorities as soon as possible after any incident [related to Chinese nationals] occurs so that they can solve the cases quickly,” Shao told CCTV in an earlier interview.

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Rio’s high crime rates have concerned many as the Olympics approaches.

On Wednesday last week, a group of Chinese working in Rio were robbed of their valuables, including their mobile phones, in downtown Rio, according to the Chinese consulate’s social media account.

Two days earlier, a journalist friend of Chinese hurdler Shi Dongpeng had a bag of cameras, computers and microphones stolen at a hotel lobby by two thieves working together.

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Security footage showed a man rushing up to Shi and his friend and vomiting on them.

Shi left the lobby for the restroom to clean his shirt while his journalist friend chased after the man.

When they returned to the hotel lobby shortly after, their bag, which had been left unattended, had been taken by another man.

An officer at the Chinese consulate in Rio told the South China Morning Post that the consulate would set up a booth at the Rio international airport’s arrival hall to distribute a public safety guide to arriving Chinese nationals.