Armed robbers caused panic this week at the construction site of the new Hard Rock Hotel in Cancun when they forced their way into the hotel premises and fired gunshots at construction workers. Although no injuries were reported, the new hotel has seen several incidents of armed robbery in the past weeks, causing concern among employees.
Construction workers reported gunshots on Wednesday as armed robbers entered the premises of the new Hard Rock Hotel construction site in Cancun. The incident took place at around 4 P.M in the area where the hotel is being built, on Kukulcán boulevard nearby Ventura Park.
According to preliminary reports, the violent incident is most likely the result of infighting between organized crime groups who operate in the vicinity of the hotel. Eyewitnesses say that two armed robbers riding a motorcycle appeared on the scene and fired gunshots at a presumptive drug trafficker who was trying to sell drugs to construction workers. Upon finding the target, the thieves started shooting at him, firing around 10 shots, all of which missed. The victim was able to flee from the scene and no casualties were reported.
Although local police were quick to respond to the case, the armed criminals managed to escape the scene. Police quickly began to gather evidence from the crime scene and uncovered bullets used by the perpetrators. Later on, authorities from the Public Attorney confirmed that four suspects, three men, and one female, have been arrested for potential ties to the case. Meanwhile, Cancun police seized five motorcycles that may be connected to the case. Local police often target armed criminals who are known to operate in the area.
Police have cordoned off the premises of the construction site in order to further investigate the crime. The State Attorney will now proceed to determine the culprits behind the violent incident.
This is the second occasion involving armed robbers at the construction site within a week. Last week, another group of armed criminals targeted construction workers at the site and attempted to steal valuables including mobile phones and cash. Construction workers at the site report feeling frustrated by authorities’ inaction, who have failed to prevent similar incidents from occurring.
The new Hard Rock Hotel in Cancun is currently under construction, and around 500 workers are employed at the site. The hotel will have two thousand rooms and is currently at 50% completion. Violent crime targeting construction sites in Cancun and Isla Mujeres is not a new phenomenon, as organized crime groups frequently target construction workers for the sale of illegal substances. Whilst theft is one of the most common issues faced by workers, some reports suggest that organized crime groups also try to recruit new members by targeting low-paid construction workers. Informal employment in the black market remains a significant issue in the industry.
Although no tourists were affected by the recent incidents, Quintana Roo as well as several of its tourist hotspots such as Cancun and Playa del Carmen have seen crime rates increase lately. As a result, authorities have mobilized more law enforcement personnel to patrol busy touristy areas. More reinforcements from the federal government have also been placed around the state.
Luckily, armed crime against tourists remains rare, and visitors are more likely to be victims of petty crimes such as pickpocketing. However, earlier this June, a group of armed robbers held tourists at gunpoint in Isla Mujeres, and authorities consequently asked visitors to be especially vigilant when visiting that area. Moreover, visitors are urged to avoid walking alone at night.
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