How it works:
- Situation: in 2018, a check on the police force of Puebla state in Mexico City found that more than 50% of the force (113 out of 185 officers) were not real police!
- Set-up: many paid a bribe to avoid vetting and registration and were probably there to serve cartels, rather than to target tourists. However, some have been targeted at fake checkpoints, although these are probably perpetrated by corrupt officers.
Places to beware:
- Mexico City
What to do:
- Be skeptical: if you have not broken the law.
- Three steps: verify badges and threaten to call the police. Never give your passport – only show a photocopy. Only comply at a police station with a lawyer/someone from your embassy.
- Valuables: hide in a money belt/hidden pouch and use a cheap spare wallet with little cash which can be given up.