Police ramp up security at Aust'n university after gangs target Chinese students

Updated: 2016-04-18 10:04


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MELBOURNE - A spate of attacks on Chinese students at Australia's most prestigious university has prompted police to ramp up its security presence at the Melbourne campus.

In the past few months, Chinese nationals studying at Melbourne University- rated 33rd in the World University Rankings 2015-2016 - have been repeatedly preyed on by youth gangs at night.

It is believed that some of the attacks have been carried out by suspected members of the Apex street gang, which was linked to Melbournes inner-city riots in March.

In response to the crime spree, Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Andrew Crisp met with Chinese consular officials after some parents expressed concern about their children's safety.

News Corp speculated that Chinese students were being targeted because they were perceived as "wealthy and easy targets" carrying the latest technology.

One incident involved an attacker snatching a female student's phone out of her hands while texting.

Investigators said no students had been physically harmed, but a number of arrests had been made.

"While no physical injuries have been inflicted, the events have understandably been quite confronting for the victims involved," Victoria Police said in a statement.

"Both overt and covert police patrols will be increased in and around the university precinct over coming weeks to provide a highly visible presence and deter criminal activity."

Police and university staff have also suggested students not walk alone at night.

According to a 2014 study, almost 100,000 Chinese students moved to Australia in order to pursue higher education - making up a third of the nation's international students.