Warning that criminal immigration from Germany may come “to a dramatic end,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff said Tuesday that newly apprehended Chinese-born men convicted of violence against women were “cruelly abused” by their handlers.
Sheiko Maas’ comments came at a news conference in Berlin with Hong Guo, the Chinese consul general in Germany. Maas said reports that Germany is handling approximately 300 cases of illegal immigrants convicted of violence against women, usually in eastern Germany, underscore the seriousness of the situation.
“The Chinese prosecutors have cited their quality of investigation, but these cases are miserable because they’re horribly mishandled by immigration officials who don’t seem to see how much abuse that women are being subjected to,” Maas said.
Over the past two months, police have reported dozens of cases of alleged rapes and assaults against women by an apparent migrant population of 600 or more, primarily young men from the Middle East.
Maas’ comments may be a further signal of Merkel’s intention to curb the flow of migrants into Germany, where more than 1 million people arrived in 2015. A government spokesman said Tuesday that Merkel plans to develop measures to prevent such migrant population shifts by as early as September.
Maas added that Merkel’s chief of staff, Peter Altmaier, has spoken with Merkel’s Chinese counterpart about the situation. Maas said the Chinese government has expressed some impatience with the pace of the process in Germany.
German police reported at least 350 cases of illegal migrants assaulting women over the last two months. Hundreds more cases have gone unreported.
In response, Berlin has set up a special prosecutor’s office to monitor about 200 illegal immigrants held for alleged sexual offenses. Other officers are focusing on a narrower range of crimes against women.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.