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Robbed in Cali Colombia
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bootyhuntah Offline
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Robbed in Cali Colombia
So I wanted to share this after I've had a few days to reflect on my experience. Not doing this to scare anyone, but I do want to make sure that people are mentally prepared and aware of this type of situation because it is certainly not unheard of in Colombia. Most importantly, I believe there are precautions you can take to prevent yourself from being a victim of crime, but this doesn't reduce your chances to zero, obviously. And lastly, even though bad shit does happen in Colombia, chances are that you fill be fine if you are aware and take standard precautions like you would in any country.

Backstory: I have been traveling Latin American for a continuous 8.5 months now with no problems. I had already spent nearly 88 days in Colombia with zero violent incidents. The previous 13 days or so, I had passed in the south of Cali in an highly secure apartment in Ciudad Jardin. Cali was to be my last port of call in the country with 90 days in total before heading south into Ecuador over land. I was having a tough time in Cali up to this point, only doing day-game approaches with essentially zero lays (after several dates with some very sexy but flaky women). Spent almost 2 weeks in the south of the city doing strictly day game around the University del Valle area and Unicentro and some parts of the north around Centenario Mall, with only a sloppy BJ to show for it all...which admittedly is still better than nothing.

That being said, I decided to ship in a young sexy 21 y/o Colombiana from Manizales (I had met about 5 weeks prior) for my last weekend in Colombia. I had a few lukewarm prospects for the weekend but decided on the sure things instead. She had been hitting me up lately with, "quiero verte antes de irte." So I decided to go for the guaranteed lovin and bought her a bus ticket to Cali.

I met her at the Terminal de Transportes around 10PM on a Friday night as her bus was actually on time. From here we grabbed a quick snack before making our way over to the taxi line. Take note this is the official taxi line - we did not hail a cab from the street which is generally not advisable in Colombia, even though I've done it several times without incident. There was a single dark-skinned Colombian guy (looked black) in front of us in the line with several other middle-class people with luggage behind us. Red flag #1, when it was time for the black guy to get a taxi, I noticed that the next available taxi actually waved off this black guy and pointed to us to come get in instead. The thought that crossed my mind was about a Chris Rock standup routine complaining how hard it is for a black person to get a taxi in NYC, but otherwise didn't think anything of it.

Red flag #2 - I was instructed to put my girls luggage in the front passenger seat. When I closed the door (a bit too firmly, apparently), the taxista started angrily complaining that I slammed it way too hard. He clearly seemed to be agitated for some reason. I apolgized and was like, "tranquilo, tranquilo." Anyway, I gave him the address to my hotel and didn't think anything more of the situation.

Red flag #3 - about 2-3 minutes after leaving the terminal, the taxista pulled into a natural gas refueling station to fill up the tank. We were instructed to get out of the car while it was being refueled for our own safety. The taxista then disappeared for a few minutes and returned once the refueling was complete, probably 4-5 minutes later.

Ref flag #4 - we get back in the car and the guy is complaining about how expensive it cost to have to refuel his car (50,000 COP) and about how he has already been working 20 hours straight today. I was starting to now get uncomfortable at this guy's negativity but me and my girl just kinda brushed him off and thought it better to ignore him.

We slowly approach my hostel now and it is probably 10:45 PM. My hostel is located on Calle 5 across from the Library. It is quite dark, there isn't much traffic, but I didn't think anything further. The taxista approached my hostel very slowly as he appeared to be looking at the numbers to see where the hotel was. Eventually, I just said, "this is close enough, we will walk 3-4 buildings...gracias." We get out of the taxi, my girl gets our on the opposite side toward the driver's side/street and I get out on the opposite side on the sidewalk/passenger side. Pay the man 20k and get about 9k change. I have the change now in my left hand and my girl's wheeled suitcase in my right hand. Close the door gently, and the guy pulls away about 20 ft and stops.

As I turn to my right I see a guy on a motorcycle (engine quietly running) wearing all black clothing and immediately notice a semi-automatic pistol in his lap, full face helmet on his head. Immediately I knew we were fucked. Next thing I know I feel a cold hard metal object being repeatedly rammed into my right shoulder blade. I knew it was a gun (#2). I dropped the taxi fare change to the ground, and we both simultaneously put our hands up. Then, I slowly went for my iphone 4 in my left pocket and just held it up. It was snatched up immediately. I look out of the corner of my eye and I see my girl in a hysterical panic. The girl was now being approached by guy on motorbike #1, gun shoved in her face. The guy takes her huge purse and her wheeled suitcase, when a third guy on motorbike pulls up now and scoops up her suitcase. The guy then starts patting her down with one hand while holding her at gunpoint with the other. From here, I still have a gun in my back, and my guy tells me "Cartera, Cartera." I reach into my right pocket and give him my moneyclip. From here, the guys slowly walk towards their waiting motorbikes while looking back over their shoulders at us.

Then, they just drive off, while occasionally looking back at us. I grab my girl and we immediately run into the front entrance of my hostel. The robbery is over, although she is absolutely hysterical and can barely breathe...

Overall damage: she lost what amounted to easily over $1200 USD in merchandise. For her, this is about a 3 month salary. Two smartphones, lots of nice clothing, her wallet, bank card, 30,000 pesos in cash, makeup, purse, etc. I lost about 150,000 pesos in cash, my travel bank card, my ID, and a beat-up iphone 4.

Lessons learned/advice from this experience:

(1) Whenever possible, always use easytaxi, uber, or a similar app when calling taxis in Colombia. This will ensure that you have the driver's information in the event shit hits the fan. I personally prefer using public transport when possible, but in a city like Cali this isn't really possible.

(2) Under no circumstances should your taxi driver stop en route to your destination. Taxi drivers are specifically prohibited from doing this during a taxi fare - didn't know this at the time.

(3) Under no circumstances should your taxi driver be on his phone. People in Colombia are generally very wary/paranoid of a taxi driver on their phone because it is easy for them to tip off some waiting robbers.

(4) If your taxi driver seems agitated or in a negative mood at all whatsoever, get the fuck out of the cab and get a new one. There is no reason you should be dealing with a taxi driver with a bad attitude or bad mood.

FINAL THOUGHTS

It turns out we firmly believe that we were set up - the whole thing was planned. When we stopped to fill up the tank, we believe that the taxi driver called in the muscle during the time that he disappeared to use the bathroom. Next day, we filed a police report at the police station in the centro of Cali, then I went to the bus station and we watched the video of the registered taxi line. While at the police station telling our story, one of the clerks just shakes her head, let's out a sigh, and says, "Cali es Cali" (Cali is Cali)...she seemed disappointed but completely unsurprised. Luckily, our taxi driver's vehicle was on video and we were able to get his plate number. That being said, it is highly unlikely that there will be any sort of justice done on our case. After talking with the police detective, we realized how swamped and understaffed their office seemed to be. We realize and understand that there will probably be no justice in this case, given how inefficient the justice system seems to be in this country. Lesson learned, and I hope at least one person can learn from this too.

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(This post was last modified: 09-21-2015 09:54 AM by bootyhuntah.)
09-21-2015 09:37 AM
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Post: #2
RE: Robbed in Cali Colombia
I'm glad you're okay and safe. I've seen stuff like this happen in Cali before.
09-21-2015 09:54 AM
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RE: Robbed in Cali Colombia
Holy Fuck.

Glad you guys made it out alive, fuck the valuables. I'm wanting to go to Colombia these days, but stories like this just puts me off. Getting screwed by an official taxi like that, shit.
(This post was last modified: 09-21-2015 09:56 AM by Turkish Republican.)
09-21-2015 09:55 AM
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RE: Robbed in Cali Colombia
+1 rep point and thanks for explaining what happened. I've been robbed twice in my life and it can really suck psychologically, and this will probably protect some people reading this from getting robbed.

On a smaller scale, I've noticed that any taxi driver in the Philippines who is walking around talking to people is trying to push a ripoff ( non-meter) fare.

Perhaps avoiding any situation where a driver has selected you is safer. Probably a randomly selected driver is less likely to be a crook than a self selected one.


"The goal of {amoral} capitalism is to reduce all human interaction to the cash nexus." L. D.
(This post was last modified: 09-21-2015 10:01 AM by iknowexactly.)
09-21-2015 09:59 AM
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RE: Robbed in Cali Colombia
Damn that is scary. Cali can be pretty sketchy, you definitely have to be careful.

The other precautions I take is not to carry a bank card, only approximate cash I need for the night and have a cheap phone to take out for the evening rather than an expensive smart phone, also I just have a photocopy of my ID, that way the loss is minimal.
09-21-2015 09:59 AM
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bootyhuntah Offline
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RE: Robbed in Cali Colombia
Yeah it sucked. I'm fine now if not a bit gun shy still. But honestly, I feel bad for my girl because obviously it's going to take her a MUCH longer time to recover from this situation than me. Also, I normally travel with three debit cards with the money being spread over 3 accounts, two of which being the nest eggs and one being for everyday travel needs for ATM withdrawals. These two debit cards are always hidden in my room at all times. I have (it was stolen) a Charles Schwab international checking card (which is great because it reimburses ATM fees around the globe with no minimal balance requirements) as my every day ATM withdrawal card. I normally only maintain about a $500 USD balance, and add about $500 USD or so per week more or less. It would definitely not be advisable to carry a card at night with access to your main travel funds as it could easily be cleaned out during a robbery at an ATM or kidnapping situation. Better yet, just take cash.

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09-21-2015 10:12 AM
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newgame Offline
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RE: Robbed in Cali Colombia
Expecting a taxi driver to not talk on his phone is unreasonable. They all do it.

If possible, don't tell the taxi driver exactly where you're going until you are close. For example, if you live close to a public place, tell him to go there and then when you're close to your apartment direct him to the exact address.
09-21-2015 10:13 AM
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RE: Robbed in Cali Colombia
Why are violent crimes so common in Latin America? I mean the likes of Thailand, Cambodia aren't rich countries as well, but violent crimes in these countries are very rare. Even in the middle east with all the terrorism going on violent crime in everyday life is non existant.
09-21-2015 10:15 AM
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RE: Robbed in Cali Colombia
(09-21-2015 09:59 AM)EuroSlumming Wrote:  Damn that is scary. Cali can be pretty sketchy, you definitely have to be careful.

The other precautions I take is not to carry a bank card, only approximate cash I need for the night and have a cheap phone to take out for the evening rather than an expensive smart phone, also I just have a photocopy of my ID, that way the loss is minimal.

Cali has a bad reputation for crime and danger, all over Colombia now. People in Barranquilla often brag, to me, how much safer their city is compared to Cali. And from what I have seen, I can only agree.
That is one of the reasons why the girls of Cali are more ´desconfiadas´ and it gives them an extra reason, to be even more flakey.
I lived in a nice complex (near cosmocentro mall) close to a ghetto area and would eat at restaurants on the outside of said ghetto.
I could get away with it, because I could blend in..... but many people warned me never to go beyond the outside.
09-21-2015 10:27 AM
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RE: Robbed in Cali Colombia
(09-21-2015 10:15 AM)Turkish Republican Wrote:  Why are violent crimes so common in Latin America? I mean the likes of Thailand, Cambodia aren't rich countries as well, but violent crimes in these countries are very rare. Even in the middle east with all the terrorism going on violent crime in everyday life is non existant.

You can read about one theory here: http://static.visionofhumanity.org/sites...2015_0.pdf

or you can make your own assumptions, especially regarding why USA scores so low.

   

   
(This post was last modified: 09-21-2015 10:44 AM by LINUX.)
09-21-2015 10:34 AM
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RE: Robbed in Cali Colombia
(09-21-2015 10:27 AM)chochemonger1 Wrote:  Cali has a bad reputation for crime and danger, all over Colombia now. People in Barranquilla often brag, to me, how much safer their city is compared to Cali. And from what I have seen, I can only agree.

So is Barranquilla the safest large city in Colombia? Safer than Cali, Medellin and Bogota? and in what ways is it safer?

I would be willing to live in a shittier city to chase tail if it meant it was safer at night.
09-21-2015 10:45 AM
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RE: Robbed in Cali Colombia
(09-21-2015 10:45 AM)Disco_Volante Wrote:  
(09-21-2015 10:27 AM)chochemonger1 Wrote:  Cali has a bad reputation for crime and danger, all over Colombia now. People in Barranquilla often brag, to me, how much safer their city is compared to Cali. And from what I have seen, I can only agree.

So is Barranquilla the safest large city in Colombia? Safer than Cali, Medellin and Bogota? and in what ways is it safer?

I would be willing to live in a shittier city to chase tail if it meant it was safer at night.


Here is a general comparison without taking the parts of the city into context. For most of people, it all comes down to where you stay in the city. That goes for every city.


Murders

Bogota: 19 per 100,000 inhabitants
Cali: 71 per 100,000 inhabitants
Medellin: 26.7 per 100,000 people
Barranquilla: 22 per 100,000 people

In comparison:

Baltimore : 37.4 per 100,000 people
Denver : 9 per 100,000 people
San Pedro Sula, Honduras: 169 per 100,000 people

   
(This post was last modified: 09-21-2015 11:07 AM by LINUX.)
09-21-2015 10:50 AM
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RE: Robbed in Cali Colombia
I should start a shoe company that has a secret compartment in the heel to hold cards and cash.

One time I was buying some green stuff from a shady fellow. I emptied all of my cards and left my ID and cash in my wallet.

Glad you're ok.
09-21-2015 11:10 AM
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RE: Robbed in Cali Colombia
That's enough to make your butthole tight. Glad you're safe. Two dudes with guns is no joke.

Do a lot of regular people carry guns in Colombia for self defense? Or is it a big crime there?
09-21-2015 11:10 AM
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RE: Robbed in Cali Colombia
As soon as I heard he had to stop for gas and then he disappeared I knew something was up.

In fact, when he waved the black guy forward and selected you a giant red flag would have gone off in my head. You obviously had the gringo look all over you and you are lucky you are alright.

I think every guy needs to read this, because it can happen to anyone on this forum.

Someone asked why this happens so much. You stated it took you three months to make that money, imagine how much time it would take that taxi driver to earn that same amount.

I am glad you are alright, I have no doubt those guys would have used those guns.

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09-21-2015 11:13 AM
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bootyhuntah Offline
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RE: Robbed in Cali Colombia
Thanks for putting things in perspective, LINUX. Definitely have to add that Cali to me had the perception of being among the edgiest and most desperate-feeling cities I've experienced on my travels to date. Next to this, it is probably Guatemala City. Then plenty of bad neighborhoods in the UNITED STATES. North Philly comes to mind. Also, I routinely (once every few weeks) heard gunshots at night in my neighborhood in Pittsburgh of all places when I was in university. The campus was located adjacent to a pretty rough neighborhood. Still haven't heard any gunshots on my travels yet.

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09-21-2015 11:15 AM
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bootyhuntah Offline
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RE: Robbed in Cali Colombia
(09-21-2015 11:13 AM)rudebwoy Wrote:  As soon as I heard he had to stop for gas and then he disappeared I knew something was up.

In fact, when he waved the black guy forward and selected you a giant red flag would have gone off in my head. You obviously had the gringo look all over you and you are lucky you are alright.

I think every guy needs to read this, because it can happen to anyone on this forum.

Someone asked why this happens so much. You stated it took you three months to make that money, imagine how much time it would take that taxi driver to earn that same amount.

I am glad you are alright, I have no doubt those guys would have used those guns.

To be clear, I was referring to my Colombian girl who would have to work for three months to recover the amount of equivalent pesos she lost in personal possession. For me, it was only about $50 and a iphone 4. I'm just happy to be breathing, lol.

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09-21-2015 11:18 AM
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RE: Robbed in Cali Colombia
The Colombians usually don't have insurance to cover for such occurrences?

Perhaps the premium would be way too high..
09-21-2015 11:22 AM
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Sherman Offline
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RE: Robbed in Cali Colombia
Taking a taxi at the airport from the official line should be safe. Are you sure this guy didn't pull a trick and pick you up even though he wasn't official? There are a lot of unofficial taxis hanging around the airport trying to get your business. Also, if you have a license plate, report him to the airport.

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09-21-2015 11:35 AM
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RE: Robbed in Cali Colombia
(09-21-2015 11:10 AM)RioNomad Wrote:  That's enough to make your butthole tight. Glad you're safe. Two dudes with guns is no joke.

Do a lot of regular people carry guns in Colombia for self defense? Or is it a big crime there?

The place where I've seen the most people carry guns is Honduras. Every restaurant, not just nightclubs, there had metal detectors at the door and guys were checking in their guns one after another. I never saw one gun when I was in Colombia, but that doesn't mean a lot of people don't carry them.
09-21-2015 11:38 AM
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RE: Robbed in Cali Colombia
(09-21-2015 11:35 AM)Sherman Wrote:  Taking a taxi at the airport from the official line should be safe. Are you sure this guy didn't pull a trick and pick you up even though he wasn't official? There are a lot of unofficial taxis hanging around the airport trying to get your business. Also, if you have a license plate, report him to the airport.

He never said he was at the airport.
09-21-2015 11:39 AM
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RE: Robbed in Cali Colombia
(09-21-2015 10:45 AM)Disco_Volante Wrote:  
(09-21-2015 10:27 AM)chochemonger1 Wrote:  Cali has a bad reputation for crime and danger, all over Colombia now. People in Barranquilla often brag, to me, how much safer their city is compared to Cali. And from what I have seen, I can only agree.

So is Barranquilla the safest large city in Colombia? Safer than Cali, Medellin and Bogota? and in what ways is it safer?

I would be willing to live in a shittier city to chase tail if it meant it was safer at night.
One thing about Barranquilla is that North and South are like 2 different cities. I have not physically been (or needed to be) to the Center or further South. That is where the "supposed" bad areas are.
The North is safe and pretty well off, in general. All the girls from the South don't mind coming up North to see you.
Cali, is different in that sense. Both North and South have their bad areas and the West side has a horrible reputation. Another reason why logistics are not so good, as compared to Barranquilla.
09-21-2015 11:40 AM
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RE: Robbed in Cali Colombia
(09-21-2015 11:35 AM)Sherman Wrote:  Taking a taxi at the airport from the official line should be safe. Are you sure this guy didn't pull a trick and pick you up even though he wasn't official? There are a lot of unofficial taxis hanging around the airport trying to get your business. Also, if you have a license plate, report him to the airport.

To your point, it is certainly possible he was unofficial, even though he was in the official line with an official taxi attendant. I went back to the bus station and we watched the surveillance video. We identified his license plate from said video and the police and security staff at the station has the information now.

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09-21-2015 11:40 AM
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RE: Robbed in Cali Colombia
It could have been worse. If she would have been shot you would have been back to the lousy day gaming. Just kidding.

If an occurrence like this, as has been said, is afterwards mostly about lost assets it's quite 'good' compared to what could have happened.

You acted cool in the situation and prevented any violence to occur.
09-21-2015 11:41 AM
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RE: Robbed in Cali Colombia
(09-21-2015 11:39 AM)LINUX Wrote:  
(09-21-2015 11:35 AM)Sherman Wrote:  Taking a taxi at the airport from the official line should be safe. Are you sure this guy didn't pull a trick and pick you up even though he wasn't official? There are a lot of unofficial taxis hanging around the airport trying to get your business. Also, if you have a license plate, report him to the airport.

He never said he was at the airport.

You are right. I thought "Terminal de Transporte" was at the airport, but it looks like a bus station. So, he should still tell the bus station what happened. Also, did the cab jump the official line?

Rico... Sauve....
09-21-2015 11:42 AM
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