germany sexual assault
19-year-old Moroccan Cologne sexual assault suspect arrested in Switzerland Pictured: Women shout slogans of "Against Sexism - Against Racism" as they march through the main railways station of Cologne, Germany, Jan. 5, 2016Reuters

UPDATE: 4:40 pm IST: Germany has identified 31 suspects in the New Year's Eve sexual assaults case, of which 18 are asylum seekers, AFP reported. 

Original Story

Asylum seekers are believed to be among those involved in the sexual assaults on scores of women in Germany's Cologne city on New Year's Eve, German media reported. 

The Cologne police had reportedly checked the identity cards of as many as 100 people at the city's central station on 31 December after they found their behaviour to be suspicious, and among those checked were "recently arrived asylum seekers from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan," German newspaper Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger reported. 

The city police had also reportedly filed a report on 2 January stating that majority of those who were checked only had identification proof as asylum seekers, German publication Die Welt reported.

Cologne police chief Wolfgang Albers has now been accused of hiding the information about the asylum-seekers, which, reports said, they found to be "politically awkward".

Germany has taken in more than a million migrants in 2015 and German Chancellor Angela Merkel has faced criticism over her "open door" policies.

The police chief had said earlier this week that 120 women had complained of being robbed or sexually assaulted by men of "Arab or North African" origin. 

The police said on Thursday that they had identified 16 suspects in the New Year assaults.

Women in other German cities such as Hamburg, Berlin and Stuttgart have also complained of sexual assaults by groups of men. 

Germany's Justice Minister Heiko Maas had said on Thursday that those involved in the New Year's Eve assaults will face deportation. 

The reports come amidst the arrest of three Syrians in southern Germany for allegedly gang-raping two teenage girls on New Year's Eve. The suspects in the gang rape of teenage girls are not asylum seekers, The Telegraph reported.