Motorists on a busy road were shocked to see a dying man staggering along the side of the A54 motorway between the southern towns of Nîmes and Arles on Sunday.

"/> Motorists on a busy road were shocked to see a dying man staggering along the side of the A54 motorway between the southern towns of Nîmes and Arles on Sunday.

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CRIME

Man shot dead over cannabis theft

Motorists on a busy road were shocked to see a dying man staggering along the side of the A54 motorway between the southern towns of Nîmes and Arles on Sunday.

Local newspaper Midi Libre reported that the 20-year-old man was shot dead after trying to steal cannabis that was growing nearby.

“We believe that four young people from Nîmes decided to steal some cannabis plants growing in a field next to the motorway,” said the Nîmes public prosecutor, Robert Gelli. “While three of them were in the field, shots were fired.”

Gelli said the shots probably came from “the owners of the field.” A fourth man had been standing lookout next to the two cars the group had arrived in.

Passing motorists thought the man was a hunter who had been hit. He collapsed on the hard shoulder of the motorway and emergency services were called.

Police quickly rounded up a number of people for questioning on Sunday afternoon but no charges have yet been laid.

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CRIME

Hackers post French hospital patient data online

Hackers who crippled a French hospital and stole a trove of data last month have released personal records of patients online, officials have confirmed.

Hackers post French hospital patient data online

The cyberattackers demanded a multimillion dollar ransom from the Corbeil-Essonnes hospital near Paris a month ago, but the institution refused to pay.

The hospital said the hackers had now dumped medical scans and lab analyses along with the social security numbers of patients.

“I condemn in the strongest possible terms the unspeakable disclosure of hacked data,” health minister François Braun tweeted on Sunday.

Hospitals around the world have been facing increasing attacks from ransomware groups, particularly since the pandemic stretched resources to breaking point.

The problem has been acute in France, where officials estimated early last year that healthcare institutions were facing on average an attack every week.

President Emmanuel Macron last year called the attacks during the pandemic a “crisis within a crisis” and announced an extra one billion euros for cybersecurity.

During last month’s attack, the Corbeil-Essonnes hospital shut down its emergency services and sent many patients to other institutions.

At one point, officials said the only technology still working was the telephone.

Rather than selling the trove of data, the hacker has dumped at least some of it for download on the “dark web” — a hidden part of the internet that requires special software to access.

Analysts said it seemed to be a tactic to put pressure on the hospital, even though public institutions are banned by French law from paying ransoms.

Cybersecurity researcher Damien Bancal, who revealed the leak and has seen the files, told AFP the worry is that other criminals will now launch scams with the data that has already been divulged.

In response to the leak on the weekend, the hospital severely restricted access to its systems and told patients to be extremely vigilant when receiving emails, text messages or phone calls.

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