SecurityCornerMexico.com Recommended READING: Airport crime persists despite heightened security. AIRPORT SCAMS, How the Mafia Loots JFK Airport
As in many other cities in the world, when you arrive to Mexico City, you have to follow some basic common sense rules to protect yourself. Practically, you are taken by the hand, before you even land in Mexico City airport –if this is your first time here- to make sure that your destination, whether a hotel or home is safe. Useful information that includes round the clock taxi and other transportation services operating from the airport is provided. As of late, sad to say, foreigners have been the victims of crime in the vicinity of the airport. Pertinent recommendations to help you avoid becoming a statistic are provided.
UPDATE, by our Readers: CUSTOMS - You are required to complete two different customs forms upon arrival. One applies to yourself the other pertains to your baggage. CURRENCY EXCHANGE – Exchanging your currency at a US airport may cause you to lose 10% of your currency’s value, wait. There is no difference in currency exchange rates between Mexico City airport exchanges and the exchanges downtown. Additional TIPS by The Economist.
RECOMMENDED Reading: Airport Security Technology Stuck In the Pipeline, by Washington Post, February 8, 2008
Thanks to Oscar Ruiz, our pilot
The Associated Press, February 7, 2009
MEXICO CITY — Mexico has assigned 100 more federal police officers to the capital's airport following a series of assaults on travelers who exchanged money.
Five of the victims have been foreigners, including a French scientist who was killed.
Federal Police official Brig. Gen. Alfredo Fregoso says the reinforcement brings to 500 the number of federal officers patrolling the airport.
Prosecutors say at least 18 people who were recently robbed outside the airport were apparently followed after exchanging money inside.
The French scientist was shot in the head last month after assailants intercepted his car and stole 4,800 euros ($6,336).
Fregoso's announcement Saturday came a day after a Colombian man became the 18th reported
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French scientist shot near Mexico City airport dies
By JULIE WATSON Associated Press
MEXICO CITY — A French scientist who was shot in the head during a robbery near Mexico City’s airport died on Saturday.
Christopher Augur died at a Mexico City hospital four days after his assault, the fourth such incident near the airport involving foreigners in a year, the Mexico City prosecutor’s office said.
Augur was a member of France’s Institute of Research for Development, or IRD, and had been working with Mexico’s Metropolitan Autonomous University’s biotechnology department for several months, according to a statement from French Ambassador Daniel Parfait.
He helped to train French and Mexican researchers, and Parfait said he had a great love for Mexico. The embassy did not confirm Augur’s age.
“Mr. Augur was respected and esteemed as much in scientific circles as by the numerous friends that he made during his trips, which took him often to Mexico,” Parfait said.
Mexican police on Friday said they’d arrested two suspects, aged 19 and 29.
A string of at least 17 airport robberies, including the four involving foreigners, could be the work of two or more crime gangs, or one organization with several cells, city prosecutor Luis Vasquez said. Victims in all the attacks appear to have been followed after changing money at the airport and then robbed outside the terminal.
Thieves apparently have lookouts posted near airport money exchange counters and use radios or cell phones to alert accomplices to potential targets, Vasquez said.
The other foreign victims include an English man, two Ecuadoreans and a man from Guinea. The rest were Mexican citizens.
Augur was assaulted after exchanging money and leaving the airport, as he and a driver traveled along a major boulevard. Prosecutors believe seven assailants were involved in the attack, in which three vehicles surrounded Augur’s car and forced it to stop, Vasquez said.
The driver later identified one of the suspects as the man who broke the car’s window, grabbed a bag containing money and shot Augur.
Both suspects may have been involved in a similar robbery in 2008, police said.Copyright © 2008 The Houston Chronicle
|1/27/2009, 9:59 p.m. ET |
By MARK STEVENSON The Associated Press
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Thieves apparently targeting people who exchange money at Mexico City's international airport shot a French citizen in the head on Tuesday, and authorities warned that gangs have put lookouts at exchange windows in the terminal.
The 55 year-old French biotechnology researcher, who works at a Mexican university, was attacked and robbed of euro4,800 ($6,336) on a street near the airport, assistant city prosecutor Luis Vasquez and police said. He is in serious condition at a local hospital.
Officials at the French embassy said they could not confirm the victim's name or home town.
Mexico City police chief Manuel Mondragon said criminal gangs have posted lookouts at some of the money exchange businesses inside the airport. The lookouts tip off associates waiting outside who rob the victims after they leave the terminal. The gangs often use extreme violence.
The lookouts "send a message by radio or telephone about who has changed money ... and then cars are sent out to intercept the person," Mondragon said. "When the victim resists, it unleashes the most incredible violence, like shooting this man in the head."
The Frenchman's driver testified that two cars appeared to follow them after they left the airport, then cut them off, police said. One man got out with a gun and shot the victim when he refused to hand over the bag containing the money.
There have been about three other reported cases of foreigners being held up under similar circumstances in recent months, police say.
In one case, a tourist from Guinea was shot during a similar attack near the airport in January.
Vasquez said the two crimes may be related.
"We believe it could be members of the same gang, or another gang using the same methods," Vasquez said.
The airport itself is under the auspices of federal police, while the streets outside the terminal are patrolled by city cops.
Mexico has seen a wave of drug-related killings that claimed more than 5,300 lives in 2008, as well as violent kidnappings and common crime, but relatively few foreigners have been among the victims.
On Dec. 10, American anti-kidnapping expert Felix Batista was abducted in northern Mexico and has not been heard from since.
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Gunmen kill three in drug-war shootings in Marseilles
(Gerard Julien/AFP/Getty Images) Police at the scene of the killings today in Marseilles
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