A gang of Chechens beat up an undercover French cop who criticised one of them for jumping the queue at a tobacconist, police sources told AFP on Friday.
Three members of of the four-strong gang were arrested after Thursday evening's assault and were found to be from Chechnya, the semi-autonomous Russian republic notorious as a base for international organised crime.
A detective from the criminal investigative division in France's Riviera resort city of Nice was attacked after he called out to a man who pushed past him in as he waited to buy cigarettes in a bar kiosk.
The gang immediately set about the officer, and dragged him outside, pushed him to the ground and beat and kicked him, police sources said.
Other members of the detective's quad intervened and were able to arrest three of the assailants. They were due to appear in court on Saturday.
Nice has had strong ties with the Russian community since before the 1914 Revolution, when it was popular with wealthy so-called White Russian tourists. Since the fall of Communism it has again become popular with Russia's capitalist "new rich".
© 2010 AFP
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