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Rape, kidnap of tourists feed Rio safety fears

April 2, 2013 • Business


Wallace Aparecido Souza Silva is presented to the press at Special Police Unit for Tourism Support (DEAT) after being arrested for allegedly attacking tourists in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, April 2, 2013. An American woman was gang raped and beaten aboard a public transport van while her French boyfriend was shackled, hit with a crowbar and forced to watch the attacks after the pair boarded the vehicle in Rio de Janeiro’s showcase Copacabana beach neighborhood, police said. The attacks took place over six hours starting shortly after midnight on Saturday. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A late night outing turned into a six-hour-long nightmare after an American woman was gang raped and beaten aboard a public transit van while her handcuffed French boyfriend looked on helplessly, in an incident that’s shocked this resort city as it gears up to host next year’s World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.

The police response to the attack was swift: The three alleged perpetrators, aged 20 to 22, have all been taken into custody, and investigators are combing databases to determine whether the men might have been behind any other crimes.

Many still ask whether Rio authorities, who have succeeded in cracking down on much of the city’s drug violence, are up to the task of protecting the waves of tourists expected to flood the city during the upcoming double-header of mega-events. Some 2 million people are also expected to flock to the city in late July for World Youth Day, a Roman Catholic pilgrimage that Pope Francis is scheduled to attend.

Some observers said the attack came as a particular shock given that safety has improved at least in the city’s tourist-friendly, seaside South Zone neighborhoods. Foreigners and moneyed local residents who even three or four years ago would have Login to read more

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