Colombian police say they have smashed the gang behind a spate of brutal ‘honey trap’ robberies targeting foreigners, including the murder of a British tourist.
Kyle Alexander MacKenzie, 34, died in hospital in March after being found critically injured at a mountain viewpoint overlooking Medellin two days after disappearing.
He is thought to have been hit over the head by the butt of a gun by muggers who stole his belongings after he hiked to the Hill of Three Crosses, which offers breath-taking views of the city.
His attackers are suspected to be members of a gang that recruited attractive women to arrange meetings with tourists through apps like Tinder.
They would be snatched up in so-called ‘quickie kidnaps’ after being lured into minicabs driven by accomplices.
A regional police spokesman said: ‘The first driver would threaten the victim with a firearm.
‘A few blocks away another car would appear, and the criminals would threaten and assault the foreign men targeted to try to obtain the passwords to their online banking and bitcoin accounts as well as the PIN numbers for their debit and credit cards.’
Police said Mr MacKenzie’s homicide had been solved as a result of the investigation.
‘The capture of these individuals represents a significant advance in the fight against kidnaps and robberies in the region, making it safer for residents and foreign visitors,’ a spokesman said.
Reports shortly after he died said police in Medellin had rescued a 36-year-old Israeli man who had been kidnapped after arranging to meet a woman via the Tinder dating app.
Traffic cops stopped the car the group were in and arrested three men aged 21 to 26 after seeing it being driven erratically.
Police said the Israeli national was a holidaymaker who had arranged to go out for dinner with his Tinder date before she called a cab to pick them up after their meal finished.
As well as making 14 arrests, police investigating the kidnap gang have seized cash, six cars and four motorbikes, 23 mobiles and a number of foreign bank cards.
Further arrests have not been ruled out.
The British man killed is understood to have been on an extended holiday when he was killed.
He was taken to a nearby health centre before being rushed to Medellin’s General Hospital where he died despite life-saving surgery, just before midday local time on March 1.
Mr MacKenzie reportedly managed to tell medics he had been attacked and mugged by three men who stole all his belongings before he lost his fight for life.
He was described at the time as the first foreign person to have been murdered in Medellin so far this year, following 10 murders of foreigners last year in the city.
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].
For more stories like this, check our news page.