Bolivia // La Paz //

Street crime

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Travellers arriving at the main bus terminal are occasionally targeted by thieves posing as plain-clothes police officers, complete with fake documents. One popular scam involves them asking to inspect your money for counterfeit notes, or your bags for drugs, then robbing you (they often work in tandem with someone pretending to be a tourist, who will befriend you before they approach and vouch for the legitimacy of their request). If approached by people claiming to be undercover police don’t get in a car with them or show them your documents or valuables, and insist on the presence of an olive-green uniformed officer – you can call one yourself on t110. Scams of all kinds increasingly involve taxi drivers, so on arrival it’s better not to share a taxi with strangers. Worse still, travellers and even ordinary Paceños have been assaulted, kidnapped (while the perpetrators empty their bank account at the nearest ATM), and occasionally even killed by rogue taxi and micro drivers. While the situation has improved in recent years, the police advise taking down the licence plate number and colour of any vehicle you travel in, and go so far as to warn against accepting any food or drink from your fellow travellers in case it contains sedatives. For more information, see Tours from La Paz for further info on taxi security.

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