Paris police hunt for jewels, thieves after Ritz Hotel robbery

Above, a valet waits outside the Ritz Hotel in Paris. Police have recovered some jewels stolen from the Ritz Hotel in a multimillion-euro robbery attempt, but are still searching Thursday for two thieves and the rest of the missing luxury merchandise. (AP)
Updated 11 January 2018
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Paris police hunt for jewels, thieves after Ritz Hotel robbery

PARIS: Paris police have recovered some jewels stolen from the Ritz Hotel in a dramatic heist, but are still searching Thursday for two thieves and the rest of the missing luxury merchandise.
The robbery on Wednesday evening raised questions about security in one of the world’s most prestigious neighborhoods, the Place Vendome, whose well-guarded buildings include the Justice Ministry, high-end boutiques and the 19th century Ritz.
Workers cleaned up shattered glass Thursday morning and started to repair damage from the robbery. Otherwise business appeared to be returning to normal at the Ritz, with no significant increase in security.
Three suspects entered the hotel through an unmarked side door, smashed display cases and threw bags of goods out a window to at least two accomplices outside, according to a police official.
The three inside were then blocked when they tried to flee through another door, and soon arrested, the official said.
The accomplices outside fled, one on a motorcycle and another in a car. The motorcyclist dropped a bag with jewels and hatchets when his motorcycle hit a pedestrian during his escape, the official said. The pedestrian was lightly injured, said the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about an ongoing investigation.
Other jewels were found scattered amid the debris of the shattered display cases during overnight cleanup efforts, the official told The Associated Press.
The overall value of the jewels on display was about €4.5 million, and authorities were working Thursday with the jewelers to determine how many items are still missing and their value, the official said.
Another police official said some of the thieves apparently had guns. Two people inside the hotel hid from the thieves and alerted police, the official said.
Patrons at the hotel’s renowned Hemingway Bar described panic as the thieves entered the hushed environment of the Ritz, where rooms start at €1,000 a night.
Several high-end Paris jewelry stores have been targets of dramatic robberies in recent years, including Cartier, Harry Winston and Chopard. Kim Kardashian West said she lost millions of dollars’ worth of jewelry when she was robbed at gunpoint in a Paris apartment in October 2016.
The Ritz was an especially luxurious target. The hotel has housed such famous names as Ernest Hemingway and Coco Chanel. It was the last place Princess Diana stayed before her fatal car crash in a Paris tunnel, and hosts elite guests from around the world who prize the refined neighborhood.


Mongolia invites North Korea’s Kim to visit

Updated 8 min 37 sec ago
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Mongolia invites North Korea’s Kim to visit

  • The invitation was sent to Kim Jong Un on October 10, though no specific date was proposed
  • The two countries celebrated 70 years of diplomatic ties this year

ULAANBAATAR: Mongolia has invited Kim Jong Un to visit the nation’s capital, which once hoped to host the historic summit between the North Korean leader and US President Donald Trump, an official said Tuesday.
The invitation comes amid expectations that Kim and Trump, who met in Singapore in June, will hold a second summit — a time and location for which have yet to be determined.
According to Mongolian President Khaltmaa Battulga’s office, the invitation was sent to Kim on October 10, though no specific date was proposed.
The North Korean leader can visit “whenever he feels convenient,” an official from the president’s office said, confirming a report published Monday by North Korea’s KCNA state news service.
Mongolia had offered to host Trump and Kim for their landmark summit in June, but they ended up picking Singapore, where they agreed to a vaguely-worded statement on denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
Trump said last week that three or four unspecified locations have been short-listed for their next meeting, but it would “probably” not be in Singapore again, and he did not give a date.
Kim’s only other known foreign trips since taking power in 2011 was three visits to China this year.
He has also met South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the Demilitarized Zone separating their countries, where he momentarily crossed into Pyongyang’s southern neighbor.
Mongolia, a democratic nation wedged between China and Russia, is one of the few countries that has normal relations with the authoritarian regime in North Korea.
The two countries celebrated 70 years of diplomatic ties this year.
Kim’s grandfather, North Korea’s founder Kim Il Sung, visited Mongolia when it was still a Soviet state in 1988.
In October 2013, Mongolia’s then-president Tsakhia Elbegdorj visited Pyongyang and was the first head of state to meet with Kim since the North Korean leader succeed his late father, Kim Jong Il, two years prior.
Almost 1,200 North Koreans were living and working in Mongolia at the end of last year, before UN sanctions against Pyongyang required them to leave.