Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Canadian Shot and Killed in Cabo

The Canadian press has been having a field day with another Canadian tourist being killed while vacationing in Mexico. Last Thursday a Canadian man and his girlfriend were shot while in the Riu Santa Fe hotel in Cabo San Lucas. The man, Bouabal Bounthavorn, died of his injuries and his girlfriend is apparently under the protection of the police after being shot in the foot. I'm happy to "scoop" the Canadian press and report that the Tribuna de Los Cabos states that an arrest has been made in the killing. Here's a Google translation of the article from today's Cabo paper....

Mexican and foreign low rooting for murder of Canadian

Cabo San Lucas

The PGJE refused to give closure of publishing the identity of the entrenched, as well as the legal status of same. Only confirmed that legal action to try to clarify the murder committed in Hotel Riu Santa Fe

The Attorney General de Justicia del Estado PGJE-confirmed last night anchoring two male related to the murder of Canadian tourist Bouabal Bounthavorn Ingo, occurred last Thursday night inside the Hotel Riu Santa Fe.

However, the same PGJE refused to give the identity of the entrenched, arguing that could obstruct the investigation by the prosecutor of homicide but the roots and confirmed that one of them was taken to La Paz and another to San Jose del Cabo.

Moreover stressed that dependence Masha Heikal, the bride and who was occiso gunshot wound in a foot during the attack still unknown murderer, it might appear today before the Public Prosecutor to testify about what happened to her boyfriend Bouabal Bounthavorn Ingo. Of those arrested was reported that only went abroad to walk in Los Cabos, while the Mexican lives on a permanent basis in this destination.

As reported in this environment, last Thursday night, the edge of 23:10 hours there were several detonations of firearm at the Hotel Riu Santa Fe, in Room 4225, the site was found the body of an individual male with impacts of firearm in the head and the young Masha Heikal, occiso today's girlfriend, who also had a bullet impact on one foot, stating that a person knocked the door of the room, opening her boyfriend Bouabal Bounthavorn named Ingo, 29-year-old native of Laos, Asia, nationalized in Canada.

Bouabal began to argue with a person male, approximately 1.80 meters high, thin build, dark complexion, wearing a shirt and striped with a cap, which drew a gun and shot them.
The tourist died to receive three bullet wounds in the skull while his girlfriend, Masha, aged 24, was with a wound caused by a firearm in a region inside ankle right foot, but survived.

Ok, so a terrible translation, but you get the point, two men have been arrested for the crime, though no explanation for motive has been offered.

The Canadian media is very quick to point out a few other instances of violence against Canadians while vacationing in Mexico. Well, "point out" is a little soft, they are hammering on the point. There have been other instances that have made the news, I believe a total of five people have died in the last two years. Yet suddenly Canadians should boycott Mexico. How many people were murdered in Toronto or Montreal last MONTH? Are we to boycott our vacations to New York City, they've got a higher murder rate than five in two years? I hate reading the "comments" section of the Canadian news sites, people are just plain ignorant about what goes on here and are quick to jump on the bandwagon and only believe what they see in print without having the full story. Is the justice system here flawed? Yes. Is it dangerous to travel here? If you are stupid, yes. Whenever I hear about a tourist being a victim of a crime, it turns out that they were either a) really really drunk or b) involved in a drug deal gone bad. If you go looking for trouble, it will find you anywhere. I won't be surprised to find out that the tragedy in Cabo had something to do with drugs or drinking, I'm quite sure it was not just a random killing. People here are not killed randomly, it's ALWAYS for a reason. Not saying that anyone deserves to die, just saying that Mexico is not full of psychotic killers who murder tourists for fun. If it turns out the man in Cabo was shot for no reason, I will eat my hat. Don't leave your common sense behind when you come on vacation, pack your brain with your sun block, keep your wits about you and don't, don't, don't go anywhere near any drug dealers here.

Ok, off my soap box. Go book your tickets and come on down, the water is fine!


Manolo said...

I always spin it the other way around. When a Mexican (particularly a seasonal agricultural worker) is injured or even dies from work related health issues acquired in Canada is like the proverbial tree that falls in the forest. But God forbids if a "poor tourist" is looked at weirdly while sipping margaritas because suddenly is an international incident. As you say, a death is something that shouldn't be taken lightly, but there shouldn't be a double standard in the "value" of the life according to citizenship.
On the other hand, only locals get killed in Toronto ;-) so come up and visit (but I wouldn't drink the water or sneeze on the subway).

Islagringo said...

Well written. I just lost a booking for my casita because of the reporting of crime running rampant on the island. Stupid message boards, I hate them.
P.S. Good advice about staying away from drug dealers. Only get your drugs from trusted friends! LOL!

Theresa in Mèrida said...

Ah, well, I'm sure that this will get on this website http://www.mexicovacationawareness.com/index.html
the unfortunate parents of a young man who died tragically and unnecessarily while on vacation run it. I was reading the comments but most of them are about experiences years ago.
There was also this article The top ten places where Americans get arrested. http://www.latimes.com/travel/la-trw-insider28oct28.pg,0,2826129.photogallery
no reasons are given for the arrests. I think 6 of the 10 places are in Mexico and Cancun isn't one of them but Merida is.

Beth said...

Well said! I've been talking the same talk when people make negative comments. People are murdered all the time here in Canada and the States, but because it's a Canadian in a foreign country, the entire thing is sensationalized to the point where it becomes bigger than life.

If he'd been murdered in Toronto, it would have made the 6 o'clock news for a day and maybe page 2 of the paper, only to be replaced the next day by a more current newsworthy event.

Anonymous said...

Do you have any updates on this? I am staying at the same hotel on my honeymoon. Any help or suggestion would be appreciated.



Anonymous said...

While I agree that boycotting Mexico is ridiculous, you have to agree that law enforcement in Mexico is an abomination. I feel sorry for anyone who gets into a fender bender down there, where the police will let the local drive away and jail the tourist until he comes up with $500 to $1000 to be let off. Oh... and that murder is pretty easy to get away with.

I'll still vacation in Mexico (in fact planning a trip back to Cabo later this year) but until drastic changes are made down there, I'll hold the opinion that "law" enforcement in Mexico is corrupt, useless, and a joke.

Anonymous said...

Hey woman, I linked to you from www.playa.info

Hope that's ok!

CancunCanuck said...

Manolo- Great points. The fact that this is such big news tells me that it is not an everyday event, if it were, it wouldn't be newsworthy anymore.

Wayne- Sorry you lost a booking for such a paranoid reason. And I think that is what is happening, people read about a few isolated events and they become paranoid about everything when in reality they are in more danger driving to work everyday than they are of becoming a victim of a violent crime while on vacation.

Theresa- Thanks for the links. I have head those stories, but I think sometimes people forget that there is a difference between being a victim of a random crime and tragic accidents.

Beth- Exactly my point, these things happen everyday in major metropolitan cities and quite rarely in tourist destinations yet the media loves to take things and blow them up into big, fat hairy deals.

Randall- I've been looking for updates and haven't found anything. To be honest, I think you will likely be SAFER now, lightning rarely strikes the same place twice, KWIM? I'm quite sure the hotel will step up security measures, they have to if they want to stay in business. And really, this does not seem to have been a random event, it appears to have been a disagreement between two individuals. Congrats on the upcoming honeymoon, have a great time.

RichieRich- Yes, I agree, law enforcement and the justice system are quite different than Canada and the US. Police are undertrained and really underpaid for what they are expected to do. I have heard that the starting wage for a police officer is about 3000 to 4000 pesos per month. That's $300 or $400 USD for working six days a week, 14 hours a day. They are tired and overworked and easily corrupted by drug dealers who can offer them far more money than they could ever make by playing a straight course. Not saying it excuses them, just offering an explanation for why things have gotten so out of hand and why it will be a difficult problem to overcome.

Heather- Thanks amiga, I saw the post, much appreciated.

Theresa in Mèrida said...

Canucka, you hit the nail on the head , a big difference between a tragic accident and being a victim of a crime. I guess the police are worse in Cancun, because I can´t imagine that kind of shake down in Mérida. My friend (a gringo with little Spanish)had to pay a bribe to a traffic cop, and went to the station to complain, and the cop got fired! There is hope.

Brenda Maas said...

I totally agree with what you say about the media hype in Canada. It is ridiculous the way they go on and on about it.
I also think that it was probably drug related.
It is terrible when people die on vacation in a foreign country; but if you leave your brain at home, go and get drunk and wander around flashing cash in the wee hours of the morning bad things are going to happen. If you wouldn't do this in downtown Toronto why would you do it in a strange city in a strange country? Duh! Use your head!

offthetop said...

I agree with you on this one. The majority of murders and crimes in Mex are drug related at all levels (just as they are in any western country). Stay away from drugs in Mex and all is fine. I've traveled all over Mexico for years and I've got myself into some pretty sketchy situations and I'm still here to talk about it. It's in part that I just like cervezas and I don't do the mota or coca and also because I'm a friendly person with a lot of common sense who speaks spanish.
Enjoy Mexico! Just don't buy any more coastal property in Punta Mita and close off any more surf spots!

Unknown said...

I totally agree with you about how the Canadian media as well as the Canadian government is so quick to jump to conclusions about travelling to Mexico. I have lived in Cancun for the past five years and the so-called tragedies that occur to Canadians are, as you say, not just random. Things are always blown out of proportion by the media and unfortunately, that will never change. Thanks for saying what so many have wanted to say before!!

CancunCanuck said...

Theresa- If more people complained, a lot more would change. The "ni modo" attitude or plain old fear allows the system of corruption to continue.

offthetop- Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Good advice all around. And I promise if I ever win the lottery, I will buy the surf spots and NOT build any hotels or condos there ever. Just a little beach bar with a palapa and some swing stools. ;-)

Hi Jennifer- Welcome! Nice to have you here. I appreciate your support, I think most of us who actually live here share the same ideas. Thanks for stopping in, keep coming by!

Anonymous said...

It was a busy friday morning at the santa fe.....seemed like there were an awfull lot of police types looking around.....NOW WE KNOW WHY!!

We were on he 4th floor of building 7 that night and heard nothing.....i guess the sea view room turned out to be the right thing to do!

This kind of stuff happens DAILY all across world, like the Cancun Canuck says...stay away from the drug dealers.......or at least smile big and pay the moey for gods sake!!!!!!!!!!!

CancunCanuck said...

jd- Glad you were able to enjoy your vacation without being affected by what happened. And you've got a great attitude about it! And oh yes please, don't try to cheat a drug dealer, don't even try to bargain, if you really need or want to buy a little recreational substance, just pay what they ask and get out. ;-)

Nobel prize blogger said...

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CancunCanuck said...

Gracias NPB Team!

Heather said...

It is hard to believe anything in print these days. When I lived in Kenya, I heard the entire western usa was on fire, it turned out to be a small fire in utah. And I cant tell you the horror stories coming out of brasil, granted some may be true but again you cant always believe the media. Im with ya on this one, unless you have been there done that, dont judge. Great post!

Anonymous said...

I understand your blog here but my I am curious to find out what happened to the American who witnessed all of this? Why is he still being held there? If they found the killers then whey are authorities not releasing the witness? I feel for him and his family and I think they should release him. Have the papers stated anything on that? It makes one not want to help out if you end up being held somewhere for so long.

CancunCanuck said...

Heather- Wow, you are the Queen of the Commenters, lol, you got a bunch in yesterday! No, you can almost never believe half of what you read, the media is out to sell papers and they love to blow things up to whichever way will be the most scandalous.

reddawn- Very good questions indeed. I have been digging and searching for ANY kind of follow up to this story, but it seems that there is nothing at all. Zip, zero, the media has either a) forgotten it or b) they're hiding something. I'm looking everyday for new info, when I find something, I will make a post for sure. Heck, maybe I will make a follow up post about the lack of follow up, something just isn't ringing true here. Thanks for checking in!

Anonymous said...

Thank You Cancuncanuck. I am friends with the American Citizen and I am very worried about him. If you can give me any information I would appreciate it. I don't understand why they are holding him for so long if the murderers were caught as you stated. Thanks again!!

Anonymous said...

My brothers cousin is one of the 2 men held in this murder. He is a white, blonde hair, blue eyed American tourist who was vacationing at this hotel when he heard a woman screaming for help. He made the mistake of openeing his door and being a witness. The girlfriend has even cleared him of any involvment but still the Mexicans held him for 30 days in deplorable conditions and even used torture methods not unlike that of Sadam Hussien to try and coorse a confession. These Mexican officials are trying to protect Mexicans. The shooter was discribed with all dark features like a Mexican has. GIVVE ME A BREAK!

Winding Creek Cottage said...

The Canadian Media SHOULD BE WARNING YOU of the dangers in Cancun, as well as the American media and anyone else in the world. When folks plan a trip to paradise, they don't expect to be hounded by drug dealers wanting to make a buck, corrupt police wanting to blackmail you into paying enormous amounts of money for minor things, or heaven forbid robbed, raped or assaulted.
I was in Cancun in May of 2007 and was savagely raped and beaten and then left for dead inside an empty nightclub by a SECURITY GUARD who offered to walk me to my hotel next door...FOR MY SAFETY ! I am a 40 year old, American woman, who was NOT drunk or on drugs. I merely trusted the wronge person and it almost cost me my life. I'd like to mention the fact that not only were their witnesses to my attack, one witeness told police...QUOTE..."SHE IS NOT HIS FIRST VICTIM ONLY THE FIRST TO GO TO THE POLICE"...and as of today,neither of these men have been arrested, due to the f'd up process of Mexican law.
Also, since my attack I have met TWO other women who were raped down there and NOTHING was done in either case. They were told by their hotel security that "nothing could be done" and "bad things happen down here all the time"..."best thing to do is just go home and try to forget about it".
Now, my point would be...of the 3 cases i know of, 1 was treated seriously and yet nothing has been done to get these people off the street and the other 2 were simply ignored. Makes you wonder at the TRUE crime rate doesn't it?

I would NOT ADVISE ANYONE to travel south of the border, heaven forbid if something happens to you, no one CAN or WILL help you.

And to the victim's families, my heart goes out to you. I have felt your frustrations and your anger and I hope that you will pull together and fight for justice, for it is the only revenge there truly is.

Anonymous said...

I am leaving for Cancun in 3 days for the 8th time in 3 years, I have never had any problems there, have always been treated like gold by the people of Cancun, & I will keep going back. Like Cancun Canuck says I bring my common sense with me, stay away from drugs, & keep your drinking under control. You don't think if you are in a bar at home drunk & out of control, your not going to get the crap kicked out of you or killed, give me a break it happens all the time, but true at home it is front page news today, gone tomorrow!

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