Dozens of tourists hiking toward the famous Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro were held at gunpoint for up to two hours in a mass robbery that could mark an early test for anti-crime crackdowns promised by Brazil’s new president.
Police said on Friday that at least three assailants carrying knives and a gun set up the ambush on the trail, which cuts through a dense forest that borders a slum on the outskirts of the city and has been the site of numerous muggings.
In total, more than 30 people were robbed on Thursday — about half foreigners from Asia, Europe and elsewhere in South America — as the thieves took hostages and waited for more tourists to arrive.
They took cell-phones, cameras, wedding rings and credit cards, police said. Nobody was hurt.
But the incident dealt another blow to Rio’s increasingly lawless reputation and came just days after the inauguration of president Jair Bolsonaro, a former army captain who made battling crime a centerpiece of his campaign.
Bolsonaro’s promises to crack down on crime by arming average citizens have proved popular among voters, though experts warn that such action could increase unrest.
In Rio, authorities are facing a record crime wave that has claimed tens of thousands of lives and damaged the city’s critical tourism industry. Tourists traveling with cameras and smart-phones have become easy targets, particularly on the popular route to the Redeemer statue.
“For a year and a half, there have been a large number of cases on this trail,” Valéria Aragão, chief of Rio’s tourism police, told reporters. The tourism police have conducted joint operations to combat the muggings in the area.
The city lost more than US$ 200 million in tourism revenue in 2017 because of crime and violence, according to the National Confederation of Commerce of Goods, Services and Tourism.
Rio saw a respite in homicides at the start of the decade. But a grueling recession dried up police budgets and left areas that were once heavily policed to the mercy of warring gangs.
Last February, then-President Michel Temer declared a state of emergency and deployed the military to occupy the streets of Rio.
In his inauguration speech on Tuesday, Bolsonaro said Brazil is entering a new era. “Our concern will be the safety of good people, a guarantee of property rights and of the right to legitimate defense,” he said.
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@ChicureoJan 05th, 2019 - 12:52 pm +1
REF: Shoot first and ask questions afterwards...:
The only problem is that the wrong-types will shoot + there won't be anyone to question - least of all, the masses.
I THINK..., me little Shilean brother is trolling above his league just now...Jan 05th, 2019 - 10:21 pm +1
In uncountable recent posts he has ranted against any form of pregnancy termination calling it...: Bloody Murder and finishing usually with the ***Deus Acima de Todos”*** mantra...
I ask meself...
Which God is he adoring...?
A God that damns a Woman for all eternity for preventing a zygote to implant itself in the endometrial lining of her uterus..., whilst gladly accepting the violent killing of a grown human being for the value of a Samsung Galaxy J3 smartphone....?
Certainly NOT a Christian God..., I THINK...
Hermanito Shileno...Jan 06th, 2019 - 10:28 am +1
- Trolling against the mightily majestic & magnificent Tupolevs was blasphemous enough...
- Trolling against CHRISTian humanism whilst callin' yaself A CHRISTian is beyond...
Besides..., IF you belive to be..., as I strongly infer..., a Catholic..., then you do NOT have the right to your beliefs if they..., in any way contradict the Dogma of the Holy Roman Church of Christ...
.... Despite all that Shiat your Shilean Military Chaplains may have learned ya...