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Tijuana police are at it again — stopping motorists with U.S. license plates for imaginary traffic infractions so they can extort money from visitors to the city’s struggling tourist district.

"We are hoping that tourists will begin to return little by little in cars, but if these [police officers] start to see this as a way to obtain money, that’s what worries us the most,” said Jack Doron, president of Ceturmex (Comité Empresarial y Turístico Mexicano), a group that promotes tourism, in a recent interview in El Sol de Tijuana.

Jack Doron

Doron’s coments came shortly after a recent meeting of downtown Tijuana merchants with Tijuana mayor Jorge Astiazarán and secretary of public safety Alejandro Lares Valladares, according to El Sol. The business owners pressed city leaders for better security in the area and an end to police extortion of tourists, Doron told the newspaper.

Business owners on Avenida Revolución are optimistic that, in September, when more gates open at the international border, more visitors will drive into Mexico, said Doron.

But the biggest threat to that hope, he said, is that police resume their old practice of extorting money from tourists who drive into Mexico.

The practice has not reached the level of past years, Doron said, but it is the biggest worry of downtown merchants, who have been working hard to promote a return of tourism to Avenida Revolución, he said.

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Comments

Ponzi April 8, 2014 @ 10:33 p.m.

Just stand your ground. Ask for a captain to take a report and tell them you are going to report the incident to the Consulate. Or ask them to allow you to follow them to the Consulate to discuss the situation. Never pay a bribe to any police, make sure you stop in a well lit, populated area. These Mexicans need to be weeded out and they are really not much different than the scum cops we have on the north side of the border. Of course, with names like Anthony Arevalos, its apparent we have inherited the Mexican tendency for corruption.

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Bvavsvavev April 9, 2014 @ 6:35 a.m.

Ponzi, don't forget the inherited tendency of officers like Chris Hays who, last time I checked, was nowhere near Mexican. These American scum cops need to be weeded out. Sounds pretty idiotic doesnt it? How about we just keep race and/or national origin out of it. Arevalos is as American as you and I.

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Visduh April 9, 2014 @ 9:39 a.m.

Ponzi, I'm sure your advice is good. But it makes a couple assumptions. First is that you be reasonably conversant in Spanish. As soon as you start to stand up, the cop will claim "No hablo Ingles", even if he speaks it like a typical So County resident, and refuse to respond. Second, to head to the Consulate, you need to know where it is, and if you are outside business hours, what good does that do you? The time I got shaken down, right in the middle of Mexicali (and almost in the shadow of the state capitol complex, a state that was encouraging tourism) I had my wife and two young kids in the car. I'm going to put up an argument in a situation like that? I don' theenk zo, Senor. That was part of our first and only visit to San Felipe. Yes, there is an effect of such misconduct. But I do agree with Vic's comments about a shakedown being part of the tourist experience along the border and being a weird badge of honor.

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Visduh April 9, 2014 @ 7:01 a.m.

Gasp! TJ cops extorting money from Gringo touristas over imaginary traffic offenses? Who ever heard of such a thing? Why, that could kill tourism into the city. As if it did for decades, when the folks would flock to our little regional version of "Sin City" for something, too often sordid or just exotic. So, now, after a dozen or more reforms of the city of TJ over the years, the policia are still making up traffic offenses and separating the visitors from their pocket cash.

Just when you think it is safe to go back in the water (i.e. TJ) the sharks return. I agree with Robert Dean--if you have no business there, stay away. No number of rave restaurant reviews about TJ, or much else for that matter, are enough of an attraction to make me return. I once went there often, especially to Tecate, but haven't crossed the line in at least ten years. No shopping bargains are worth the risk. Nothing there has really ever changed, and if you don't look Mexican, stay away!

Oh, and by the way, tell your outtatown tourist friends and relatives that they need to fuhgeddabout going there.

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Fulano de Tal April 9, 2014 @ 9:06 p.m.

The Tijuana police chief, Alejandro Lares Valladares, fired the commander of the Tijuana Tourist Police and four other police commanders yesterday.

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Visduh April 10, 2014 @ 5:52 p.m.

This will be the 23rd or so shakeup of the TJ cops that has been announced since I've lived in the region. "The more things change, the more they remain the same."

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