Need to crack down on tout syndicates in Goa targeting tourists: Minister

Days after six persons, including three women, were arrested for kidnapping and brutally assaulting 11 tourists from Maharashtra, Goa Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte on Tuesday said that a syndicate of touts who specifically targetted visitors was operating in the coastal state and needed to be cracked down.

Khaunte on Tuesday visited the Mapusa police station in North Goa, in whose jurisdiction last week, the 11 tourists from Chandgad subdistrict of Maharashtra were lured with the promise a “good time”, taken to a beauty parlour and then beaten up by a gang, six of whose members have since been arrested.

“This syndicate of touts needs to be cracked down on. What has happened is a horrid thing for Goa and Goa Tourism,” he told reporters after meeting local police officials.

Khaunte also said that such tout syndicates, who dupe tourists and then assault and rob them, were operating in the coastal belt in North Goa, which is popular for its beaches and nightlife.

“The syndicate functions like this. The touts first meet young tourists. They show them the world, that everything is available here. They take them to a spot, tie them up and beat them. They are robbed. Using technology, they actually strip them of what they have. This syndicate needs to be busted,” the Minister said, adding that illegal dance bars operating along the popular Calangute beach stretch were also harassing tourists.

“Massage spas operating illegally on the beach belt and elsewhere are nothing but a tout syndicate operating as a gang in Goa and this needs to be busted with a strong fist. I have told DGP to pick up such touts from the beach. Tourists being assaulted in cities is not acceptable.

“I will speak to the Chief Minister to ensure that we finish this syndicate. Otherwise, such people misguide young tourists. This is the tip of the iceberg,” he added.

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