My adventure with the tourism police

Cusco Travel Blog

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Plaza de armas

The first morning in Cusco I thought it would be a good idea to report the crime to the Tourism Police for a future insurance claim. Technically my bag was stolen before the bus left Ayacucho, so I should have gone to the Ayacucho police, but I had decided to continue the journey to Cusco, because we had to be in time for the Inca Trail (2 days in advance to complete payment) and we needed some time to adapt to the altitude of Cusco (3300 m).

At the police station I decided it would be best to tell them that the bag was stolen during the bus journey. I figured that would make it more likely that the police would write out a statement for me. Me and my friend were separated and a police officer started to question me about the circumstances of my stolen bag.

On the streets of Cusco
He kept on asking questions and in the end I had no choice but to say that technically, my bag was not stolen during the bus journey, but a few minutes before the bus left.

He told me that I had lied and therefore that everything that I had said was a lie. That I came here with this amazing story and it is all lies. He told me I had insulted him, the police force and the Peruvian state. I proposed that we could just all forget it, and I would go out and buy my stuff again and not make a statement, but it was too late for that now. He told me that he could sent me back, to Ayacucho or to Lima, to go to a court of justice. In my imagination I saw it all happen: 30 hours back by bus, the hole vacation ruined, me in a Peruvian prison.
Cusco
..

In the end I almost literally had to beg him to let me go. I kept telling him it was never my intention and the rest of the story was completely true. I thought he wanted me to say that we could work things out (in a corrupt sense of the way) but I never said so. Who knows what might have happened. After letting me whimpering for a while he told me that he would forgive me and write down a police statement. But I also had to give my fingerprint. I couldn�t even read what they accused me of because it was in Spanish, while the officers spoke excellent English, but it ended with El delinquento.

The police gave me a little note that I should bring to the Banco de la Nation, to pay 3,5 soles for my police statement. I did so the next day. I had to wait in line for half an hour to pay those three soles and go back to the Tourism Police to get my statement.
Plaza de armas
I really did not want to go back to that building, but I braved it anyway. Everything went well, though. While we were waiting on the officers to put about 5 stamps on the paper, there were more tourists in the building. They were having problems too with the police and almost broke out in a fight. The Tourism Police is not a place where people get happy.

The Lonely Planet guide has this to say about it: travelers have written to complain of corruption scams in which the victims of crimes are actually considered suspects until proven innocent. Just so.<

Now I could finally play tourist again and enjoy where I was.

vodkaphix says:
You don't seem to have much luck mate! funny how the policeman sussed your lies too :S
Posted on: Aug 30, 2009
yadilitta says:
well, once I was stolen in Ica, but people at the police station were helpful well after begging at the beginning not so much. I guess being a girl almost in tears did the miracle.
Posted on: Aug 30, 2009
ejames01 says:
I will have to keep this all in mind when I visit in the futre.
Posted on: Aug 30, 2009
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Plaza de armas
Plaza de armas
On the streets of Cusco
On the streets of Cusco
Cusco
Cusco
Plaza de armas
Plaza de armas
On the streets of Cusco
On the streets of Cusco
Inca foundations
Inca foundations
Cathedral
Cathedral
Cusco
Cusco
on the Plaza de armas
on the Plaza de armas
University of Cusco
University of Cusco
San Blas and Saqsaywaman on top.
San Blas and Saqsaywaman on top.
Plaza
Plaza
Cusco
photo by: Vlindeke