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

Barrio 18 Leader 'Viejo Lin' on El Salvador Gang Truce

Barrio 18 Leader 'Viejo Lin' on El Salvador Gang Truce

Barrio 18 leader Carlos Lechuga Mojica, alias "El Viejo Lin," is one of the most prominent spokesmen for El Salvador's gang truce. InSight Crime co-director Steven Dudley spoke with Mojica in Cojutepeque prison in October 2012 about how the maras view the controversial peace process, which has...

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 FARC 1964-2002: From Ragged Rebellion to Military Machine

The FARC 1964-2002: From Ragged Rebellion to Military Machine

On May 27, 1964 up to one thousand Colombian soldiers, backed by fighter planes and helicopters, launched an assault against less than fifty guerrillas in the tiny community of Marquetalia. The aim of the operation was to stamp out once and for all the communist threat in...

The Reality of the FARC Peace Talks in Havana

The Reality of the FARC Peace Talks in Havana

If we are to believe the Colombian government, the question is not if, but rather when, an end to 50 years of civil conflict will be reached. Yet the promise of President Juan Manuel Santos that peace can be achieved before the end of 2014 is simply...

The FARC and the Drug Trade: Siamese Twins?

The FARC and the Drug Trade: Siamese Twins?

The FARC have always had a love-hate relationship with drugs. They love the money it brings, funds which have allowed them to survive and even threaten to topple the state at the end of the 1990s. They hate the corruption and stigma narcotics have also brought to...

'Chepe Luna,' the Police and the Art of Escape

'Chepe Luna,' the Police and the Art of Escape

The United States -- which through its antinarcotics, judicial and police attaches was very familiar with the routes used for smuggling, and especially those used for people trafficking and understood that those traffickers are often one and the same -- greeted the new government of Elias Antonio...

Criminalization of FARC Elements Inevitable

Criminalization of FARC Elements Inevitable

While there is no doubt that the FARC have only a tenuous control over some of their more remote fronts, there is no evidence of any overt dissident faction within the movement at the moment.

MS-13's 'El Barney': A Trend or an Isolated Case?

MS-13's 'El Barney': A Trend or an Isolated Case?

In October 2012, the US Treasury Department designated the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) as a transnational criminal organization (TCO). While this assertion seems unfounded, there is one case that illustrates just why the US government is worried about the future.

The Infiltrators: Corruption in El Salvador's Police

The Infiltrators: Corruption in El Salvador's Police

Ricardo Mauricio Menesses Orellana liked horses, and the Pasaquina rodeo was a great opportunity to enjoy a party. He was joined at the event -- which was taking place in the heart of territory controlled by El Salvador's most powerful drug transport group, the Perrones -- by the...

Ivan Rios Bloc: the FARC's Most Vulnerable Fighting Division

Ivan Rios Bloc: the FARC's Most Vulnerable Fighting Division

When considering the possibilities that the FARC may break apart, the Ivan Rios Bloc is a helpful case study because it is perhaps the weakest of the FARC's divisions in terms of command and control, and therefore runs the highest risk of fragmentation and criminalization.