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-   -   Attack on US couple in Bocas del Toro, Panama... (http://www.sailnet.com/forums/general-discussion-sailing-related/89515-attack-us-couple-bocas-del-toro-panama.html)

JonEisberg 07-09-2012 04:36 PM

Attack on US couple in Bocas del Toro, Panama...
 
American Couple Brutally Assaulted And Robbed On Their Sailboat Near Isla Colon, Bocas del Toro, Panama

Sunday, July 08 2012 @ 12:17 PM COT
Contributed by: Don Winner
Views: 1,013

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - A pair of armed and dangerous assailants brutally attacked an American couple last night aboard their sailboat anchored in the "South Anchorage" of the Bocas Marina, next to Isla Colon in the province of Bocas del Toro in the Republic of Panama. The attack started after midnight last night, during early morning hours today, Sunday, 8 July 2012. The assailants pulled up next to the couple's sailboat at 1:00 am early this morning in a typical Panamanian wooden cayuco. The two assailants boarded the sailboat, held the couple at gunpoint, and tied them up. They ransacked the boat and stole everything of value, including cameras, electronics, a computer, cash, and jewelry. The attack lasted at least two hours, during which time the victims were assaulted and brutalized. The victims were finally able to put out a call for help on the radio at 3:30 am in the morning, after the assailants had left.

A Description Of The Assailants: The two men are described as skinny, black men, medium height, and short hair. They spoke both English and Spanish. During the assault one of them called the other by the name "Emilio." The victims say the men had a "Jamaican accent" but it's unlikely they were actually from Jamaica. It's much more likely the attackers are from the Afro-Panamanian community in the area of Bocas del Toro. Many of the members of the "Afro-Antillean" community are West Indian immigrants from Trinidad, Barbados, Martinique and Jamaica, brought to Panama in order to build the Panama Canal in the early 1900's. There are several concentrated communities of Panamanians who are members of this "Afro-Antillean" community, specifically on Isla Bastimentos and on other islands in the Bocas del Toro Archipelago.

Dinghy Recovered: The assailants took the sailboat's dinghy when they left. After dawn this morning someone spotted a dinghy floating free off of the coast of Isla Carenero. Someone swam out and recovered the dinghy. It's possible (assumption on my part) the assailants took the dinghy in an attempt to keep the victims from being able to leave their boat, and they simply abandoned it near Isla Carenero as they made their escape in their own cayuco.

Police Report Filed: The victims have filed a complaint with the National Police in Bocas del Toro. The woman was taken to the hospital.

A Possible Earlier, Related Attempt? There is a report that some would be assailants - possibly these same two men - tried to board another sailboat at 10:30 pm last night, on Saturday 7 July 2012. Reported these would-be victims were able to "repel" that boarding attempt, and nothing else happened. I suspect the DIJ detectives will be investigating and comparing the details to determine or confirm if the two events are related. It seems like too much of a coincidence to think they might not be related in some way.

Editor's Comment: Obviously this is a very serious attack. I've passed this information along to my contacts in the highest levels of the Panamanian government, as well as the Panamanian news media. I'm sure the National Police and the Department of Judicial Investigation (DIJ) on Isla Colon will be doing their jobs to investigate this case, identify and find the culprits, and to bring them to justice. It's bad that this happened. From what I understand this couple had only been in Panama for a couple of weeks, and the cruiser community is burning up the networks discussing this situation. The Panamanian government, law enforcement, security, and judicial authorities are aware of the situation, and they know that the best thing they can do now is to find and punish the culprits as quickly as possible. If you have any information you think might be related to this investigation or of value, you can report it to the National Police, the DIJ, the FBI, or if you would like a confidentiality firebreak - send it to me. And, I'm sure the community of English speaking expatriates in Bocas del Toro will band together to help and support the victims. For now, let's focus on catching the bad guys. Please spread the word.

Copyright 2012 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

Brent Swain 07-09-2012 06:49 PM

Re: Attack on US couple in Bocas del Toro, Panama...
 
All one could do is keep a bottle of rum handy, with lots of rat poison in it, and make sure no one else drinks it. One could take it out, or spike it when you hear them coming and leave it in the open, where they won't miss it..
When an armed robber is in your home,threatening you or your family, anything goes.
It would be a bit late, but better late than never. Thins the bastards out a bit.
One would have tio be extremly careful, to make sure it wasnt consumed accidentaly, like locking it up most of the time, and dumping it when back in safer waters.

Cruisingdad 07-09-2012 09:13 PM

Re: Attack on US couple in Bocas del Toro, Panama...
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JonEisberg (Post 894538)
American Couple Brutally Assaulted And Robbed On Their Sailboat Near Isla Colon, Bocas del Toro, Panama

Sunday, July 08 2012 @ 12:17 PM COT
Contributed by: Don Winner
Views: 1,013

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - A pair of armed and dangerous assailants brutally attacked an American couple last night aboard their sailboat anchored in the "South Anchorage" of the Bocas Marina, next to Isla Colon in the province of Bocas del Toro in the Republic of Panama. The attack started after midnight last night, during early morning hours today, Sunday, 8 July 2012. The assailants pulled up next to the couple's sailboat at 1:00 am early this morning in a typical Panamanian wooden cayuco. The two assailants boarded the sailboat, held the couple at gunpoint, and tied them up. They ransacked the boat and stole everything of value, including cameras, electronics, a computer, cash, and jewelry. The attack lasted at least two hours, during which time the victims were assaulted and brutalized. The victims were finally able to put out a call for help on the radio at 3:30 am in the morning, after the assailants had left.

A Description Of The Assailants: The two men are described as skinny, black men, medium height, and short hair. They spoke both English and Spanish. During the assault one of them called the other by the name "Emilio." The victims say the men had a "Jamaican accent" but it's unlikely they were actually from Jamaica. It's much more likely the attackers are from the Afro-Panamanian community in the area of Bocas del Toro. Many of the members of the "Afro-Antillean" community are West Indian immigrants from Trinidad, Barbados, Martinique and Jamaica, brought to Panama in order to build the Panama Canal in the early 1900's. There are several concentrated communities of Panamanians who are members of this "Afro-Antillean" community, specifically on Isla Bastimentos and on other islands in the Bocas del Toro Archipelago.

Dinghy Recovered: The assailants took the sailboat's dinghy when they left. After dawn this morning someone spotted a dinghy floating free off of the coast of Isla Carenero. Someone swam out and recovered the dinghy. It's possible (assumption on my part) the assailants took the dinghy in an attempt to keep the victims from being able to leave their boat, and they simply abandoned it near Isla Carenero as they made their escape in their own cayuco.

Police Report Filed: The victims have filed a complaint with the National Police in Bocas del Toro. The woman was taken to the hospital.

A Possible Earlier, Related Attempt? There is a report that some would be assailants - possibly these same two men - tried to board another sailboat at 10:30 pm last night, on Saturday 7 July 2012. Reported these would-be victims were able to "repel" that boarding attempt, and nothing else happened. I suspect the DIJ detectives will be investigating and comparing the details to determine or confirm if the two events are related. It seems like too much of a coincidence to think they might not be related in some way.

Editor's Comment: Obviously this is a very serious attack. I've passed this information along to my contacts in the highest levels of the Panamanian government, as well as the Panamanian news media. I'm sure the National Police and the Department of Judicial Investigation (DIJ) on Isla Colon will be doing their jobs to investigate this case, identify and find the culprits, and to bring them to justice. It's bad that this happened. From what I understand this couple had only been in Panama for a couple of weeks, and the cruiser community is burning up the networks discussing this situation. The Panamanian government, law enforcement, security, and judicial authorities are aware of the situation, and they know that the best thing they can do now is to find and punish the culprits as quickly as possible. If you have any information you think might be related to this investigation or of value, you can report it to the National Police, the DIJ, the FBI, or if you would like a confidentiality firebreak - send it to me. And, I'm sure the community of English speaking expatriates in Bocas del Toro will band together to help and support the victims. For now, let's focus on catching the bad guys. Please spread the word.

Copyright 2012 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

THanks for posting Jon. THere was another couple here (young twenties) that is from Panama. THey were posting in the "Why Don't Young People Sail" (or something like that) thread. THey started it. Let's try and find it and check in on them too.

Brian

youmeandthed 07-09-2012 09:35 PM

Re: Attack on US couple in Bocas del Toro, Panama...
 
Hey,

We are ok. I actually was the first to answer the distress call on the radio. I couldn't sleep that night and had left my radio on for some reason. It was not a good situation, and I was in a marina 3 miles away without cell service running around trying to wake someone up with a phone that worked. I talked with the couple, who were anchored right beside us when we stayed on the hook for a month in Bocastown. They are doing as well as can be expected after such horrors. The community here is taking this very seriously, and the president flew into town today.

There were actually two boardings that night, but one was run off with loud screaming from the cruisers.

Thanks for checking in Brian.

Dave

youmeandthed 07-09-2012 09:37 PM

Re: Attack on US couple in Bocas del Toro, Panama...
 
Brent,

I think you would do better just having some poison or cianide in white powder form in with your money, it would kill them pretty quick after they chalked up a couple lines. Times have changed.

elspru 07-30-2012 04:54 AM

Re: Attack on US couple in Bocas del Toro, Panama...
 
Hmmm ya, back in the day, pirates relied on loud noises and aggressive body language, to intimidate the crew into submission.

I think we should take a hint from the crew that successfully fended of the pirates with yelling.
Probably some loud sirens and flashing lights would foil most contemporary boarding attempts,
anyone that has resorted to piracy, due to a life of crime, is probably terrified of police like sirens and lights.

In terms of poison, I don't think so, that's more for assassinations, on select people, with lots of exposure time. If you start spiking things with poison, more likely to hurt yourself, a kid, or inspection officer than anyone else.

The siren system however, is security that can even work if you aren't on the boat, for instance could be triggered like any security system, if someone tries to force a door open, without deactivating it. Though if you don't have a security system, can always yell, especially if you're below deck and hear someone unexpected on board.

If you do choose to use a weapon, would be best if you knew how to do so, and were ready to do so,
also if it's limited range like a knife, in these modern times of guns, would have to have some place where can operate it from before they notice you -- btw, it's more effective if you take a hostage in a submission hold (twisted arm, finger, or likewise), then they can help motivate the rest of the crew to leave, especially if they don't speak your language (besides you don't want any blood on your hands, it can be traumatic, and would require a lot of explaining).

Hiding places for valuables is also a good idea of course. As does looking run down and impoverished in piracy zones - wear your worst and likely most comfortable clothing, while letting the exterior get a dull grimy color - shiny and new is apealing even to crows. As the common saying goes, an ounce of prevention, is worth a pound of cure.For the government even better than law enforcement, (which in this case, I doubt would lead to anything) would be to have good social safety nets, so people don't have to resort to crime to meet their basic needs.


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