Construction sites are increasingly extorted in Peru

Extortion by criminal groups is now an accepted cost of doing business for small businesses and construction companies in Peru, according to experts. The practice is facilitated by corrupt police forces that charge money for protection and collaborate with criminal groups.

Juan Chavez, president of the Peruvian Chamber of Construction (Capeco) in the town of Piura, told El Comercio that 100 percent of businesses in the region of La Libertad and Piura are extorted. Other business owners said, "At any moment we might receive a letter with a bullet or explosives, or worse still, a visit from an armed group."

Juan Carrasco, an anti-extortion lawyer in Chiclayo, told El Comercio that extortion cases have risen by 50 percent, even though only 3 percent of businesses report being extorted.

Extortionists can charge upwards of $175,000 for the "security" of a construction site, or $18,000 per month. In some cases, extortionists demand construction companies pay the $175 weekly salaries of fake workers. These costs can add up to almost 3 percent of the value of the company's contracts.

Many cases of extortion go unreported due to police corruption and collusion with criminals. Some owners of construction companies say when they ask for police intervention they are charged $70 per day for the police to guard their construction site, or a daily $70 per agent if they want the police to "clean the area" of criminals.

Sometimes, however, paying the police achieves little because the extortionists pay them more -- between $1,000 and $1,800 -- to stay away, according to El Comercio.

InSight Crime Analysis

As InSight Crime has recently reported, the rise of extortions is a serious concern for Peru. Construction is not the only economic sector affected, with other businesses such as transportation companies also suffering.

SEE ALSO: Peru News and Profiles

What is perhaps most concerning about the rise of extortion in Peru is police complicity with criminals of the type highlighted by El Comercio. However, such corruption is not only present among low level police but also commanding officers; this past December a Peruvian police chief was arrested on charges he was working with the Nuevo Clan del Norte extortion gang after seven of his deputies reported being ordered to work on their behalf. While this corruption continues unchecked, extortion is likely to continue to rise in Peru.

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Prev Next

Colombia Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Colombia Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

The power of Colombia's elites is founded upon one of the most unequal divisions of land in the world. As of the early 21st century, one percent of landowners own more than half the country's agricultural land.1  Under Spanish rule, Colombia's agriculture was organized on the hacienda...

Honduras Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Honduras Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Honduras is currently one of the most violent countries on the planet that is not at war. The violence is carried out by transnational criminal organizations, local drug trafficking groups, gangs and corrupt security forces, among other actors. Violence is the focal point for the international aid...

Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Organized crime and the violence associated with it is the preeminent problem in Latin America and the Caribbean today. The region is currently home to six of the most violent countries in the world that are not at war. Four of those countries are in Central America...

Special Report: Gangs in Honduras

Special Report: Gangs in Honduras

In a new report based on extensive field research, InSight Crime and the Asociacion para una Sociedad mas Justa have traced how Honduras' two largest gangs, the MS13 and the Barrio 18, are evolving, and how their current modus operandi has resulted in staggering levels of violence...

Bolivia: the New Hub for Drug Trafficking in South America

Bolivia: the New Hub for Drug Trafficking in South America

Transnational organized crime likes opportunities and little resistance. Bolivia currently provides both and finds itself at the heart of a new criminal dynamic that threatens national and citizen security in this landlocked Andean nation.

Justice and the Creation of a Mafia State in Guatemala

Justice and the Creation of a Mafia State in Guatemala

As Guatemala's Congress gears up to select new Supreme Court Justices and appellate court judges, InSight Crime is investigating how organized crime influences the selection process. This story details the interests of one particular political bloc vying for control over the courts and what's at stake: millions...

The FARC 2002-Present: Decapitation and Rebirth

The FARC 2002-Present: Decapitation and Rebirth

In August 2002, the guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) greeted Colombia's new president with a mortar attack that killed 14 people during his inauguration. The attack was intended as a warning to the fiercely anti-FARC newcomer. But it became the opening salvo of...

The Urabeños - The Criminal Hybrid

The Urabeños - The Criminal Hybrid

The mad scramble for criminal power in the aftermath of the demobilization of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) is over. The Urabeños, or as they prefer to call themselves, the "Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia," have won.

Mexico's Security Dilemma: The Battle for Michoacan

Mexico's Security Dilemma: The Battle for Michoacan

Faced with the government's failure to rein in the criminals, communities across crime-besieged Mexico have been trying for years to organize effective civic resistance. Michoacan's vigilantes express the most extreme response by society to date, but other efforts have been less belligerent. In battle-torn cities along the...

Uruguay's Marijuana Bill Faces Political, Economic Obstacles

Uruguay's Marijuana Bill Faces Political, Economic Obstacles

If Uruguay's proposal to regulate the production, sale and distribution of marijuana is properly implemented and overcomes political and economic hurdles, it could be the most important drug regulation experiment in decades.