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

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 of ...

The Victory of the Urabeños - The New Face of Colombian Organized Crime

The Victory of the Urabeños - The New Face of Colombian Organized Crime

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.

50 years of the FARC: War, Drugs and Revolution

50 years of the FARC: War, Drugs and Revolution

The possibility of ending nearly 50 years of civil conflict is in sight. While the vast majority of the Colombian public want to see peace, for themselves and especially for their children, the enemies of the peace negotiations appear to be strong, and the risks inherent in the ...

Mexico’s Security Dilemma: Michoacan’s Militias

 Mexico’s Security Dilemma: Michoacan’s Militias

Well-armed vigilantes in Mexico's Michoacan state have helped authorities dismantle a powerful criminal organization, but now the government may have a more difficult task: keeping Michoacan safe from the vigilantes and rival criminal groups.

Uruguay, Organized Crime and the Politics of Drugs

Uruguay, Organized Crime and the Politics of Drugs

After the lower house passed the controversial marijuana bill July 31, Uruguay is poised to become the first country on the planet to regulate the production, sale, and distribution of the drug, and provide a model for countries looking for alternatives to the world’s dominant drug policy paradigm. ...

The Zetas in Nuevo Laredo

The Zetas in Nuevo Laredo

After the capture of Zetas boss "Z40," Nuevo Laredo is bracing itself for the worst. This investigation breaks down what makes the city such an important trafficking corridor, and what it will take for the Zetas to maintain their grip on the city.

El Salvador's Gang Truce: Positives And Negatives

El Salvador's Gang Truce: Positives And Negatives

Whether it is sustainable or not, the truce -- which the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and the Barrio 18 put into place March 2012 -- has changed the conventional thinking about who the gangs are and what is the best way to handle the most difficult law and order ...

FARC, Peace and Possible Criminalization

FARC, Peace and Possible Criminalization

The possibility of ending nearly 50 years of civil conflict is in sight. While the vast majority of the Colombian public want to see peace, for themselves and especially for their children, the enemies of the peace negotiations appear to be strong, and the risks inherent in the ...

Corruption in El Salvador: Politicians, Police and Transportistas

Corruption in El Salvador: Politicians, Police and Transportistas

Since the end of El Salvador's civil war, the country's police has become a key player in the underworld. This series of five articles explore the dark ties between criminal organizations and the government's foremost crime fighting institution.

Juarez after the War

Juarez after the War

As a bitter war between rival cartels grinds to an end, Ciudad Juarez has lost the title of world murder capital, and is moving towards something more like normality. InSight Crime looks at the role politicians, police, and for-hire street gangs played in the fighting -- asking who ...