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.
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.