Feature: First joint patrol of Croatian, Chinese police gains positive reactions
ZAGREB, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- Six Chinese police officers will leave Croatia on Wednesday after patrolling with their Croatian counterparts for a month during the tourist season.
The joint patrol was the first such cooperation between the two countries and both sides are more than happy with the results.
The project was launched on July 15 and ended on Tuesday. In the past month, six Chinese police officers -- four policemen and two policewomen -- along with their Croatian colleagues, patrolled popular tourist spots of Dubrovnik, Zagreb and Plitvice Lakes National Park.
The main aim of the joint patrol was to help Chinese tourists in Croatia with security-related issues.
"This way of cooperation has gained positive reactions from citizens and tourists. The project enhanced communication between Chinese tourists and Croatian police. We did a very good job together," Velimir Tisma, Head of Prevention Unit of the police department in Zagreb, told Xinhua on Monday.
As Tisma explained, this type of cooperation has a preventive effect and tourists like to see police officers in uniforms of their countries.
During the joint patrol on Monday in Zagreb, a Chinese tourist was overjoyed to see Chinese police officers.
"I was very happy when I saw Chinese police officers here. I feel very safe with their presence. .. I was worried when I left China for the trip, but now I feel at ease," Mr. Chen, a retired geological engineer from western China's Xi'an City, told Xinhua.
Crime rates are low in the southeastern European country, and they are not increasing as more and more foreign tourists come to Croatia, attracted by its beautiful Adriatic coast and the fame it has gained as the filming location of many blockbuster movies and popular TV series like Star Wars and Game of Thrones.
In 2017, Croatia recorded 17.4 million tourist arrivals and 86.2 million over-night stays. The number of tourists from the Chinese mainland reached 160,000, a nearly 60 percent increase from 2016.
According to Tisma, the "Safe Tourist Season" project which started in 2006 has seen many foreign police officers coming to Croatia every summer to deal with tourists-related cases with their local colleagues.
This summer, 87 foreign police officers from about 20 countries are patrolling with their Croatian colleagues. China is the only Asian country sending police officers here.
The Chinese police were not simply patrolling in Croatia. They had put their creative ideas into reality with the support of their Croatian colleagues. Chinese police officer Liang Shukai named language barrier as a major obstacle to Chinese tourists.
After consulting local police, the Chinese language was added to a police form designed for troubled tourists who need to report a theft or loss of valuables, and Croatian police authorities agreed to use the form nationwide.
Flyers with Chinese language was adopted at Plitvice Lakes National Parks. Police from the two countries visited a Chinese shopping mall in Zagreb and answered questions on security and visa policies. The Chinese police also hosted a WeChat group which included many Chinese tourists they met during patrol, in order to offer help while they were in Croatia.
One month in Croatia was a special experience to Chinese police officers. According to Liang, in the past month, they have dealt with a dozen criminal cases against Chinese tourists. At the same time, they answered over 300 questions per week from Chinese tourists.
Ante Maric, Sector Chief of the First Police Station of Zagreb who patrolled with his Chinese colleagues, told Xinhua that the form with Chinese language would shorten the time for the procedure of reporting a case.
"This form is just the first step in our cooperation. I also hope that in this way we bring our countries closer to each other. Although we are thousands of miles away, I hope we will remain true friends and partners," Maric said.
Police from the two countries all agreed that the first year of such law enforcement cooperation went great and that it should continue.
"Our first joint patrol lays the foundation for further police cooperation between China and Croatia. Through our effort, more possibilities and development of China-Croatia police cooperation can be expected," Chinese policewoman Wei Ming explained.