US Embassy warns Americans on juvenile gangs in Manila | Inquirer News

US Embassy warns Americans on juvenile gangs in Manila

The US Embassy in Manila has issued an “emergency message” that warns Americans to watch out for juvenile pickpocket gangs which operate in areas frequented by tourists.

“Several [American] citizens have recently been victims of juvenile gangs operating in the neighborhood near the US Embassy [on Roxas Boulevard in Manila],” it said in an advisory.

According to the embassy, the groups are “comprised of street children between the ages of six and 12, usually accompanied by an elderly man who acts as the ringleader.”


“Appearing to be homeless, they begin their attack by demanding money from non-Filipino tourists. They aggressively follow the tourists and eventually swarm around them, surreptitiously stealing personal items such as wallets and cellular phones. When the victims begin to protest, the children leave and continue walking down the street,” it added.


The embassy noted that there had been reports about similar groups which victimized tourists in Cebu City.

It urged Americans visiting the country to practice the following “commonsense security measures:”

Pay attention to [your] surroundings, realizing that crime can occur anywhere, anytime.

If you notice a group of children approaching you, try to cross the street or avoid them. If they continue to follow or harass you, seek assistance from a local establishment’s security guard or door escort. The gangs usually leave once they encounter authority figures.

Do not wear a lot of jewelry [or] display large amounts of cash.

If possible, do not carry a purse or backpack and carry only the items you need.


Consider not carrying a wallet and [keeping] your cash, IDs and credit cards in [your] pockets instead.

Avoid public transport. Jeepneys, the Light Rail Transit and [Metro] Railway Transit are “prime venues for pickpockets.”

Do not drink alcoholic beverages excessively, which could make you an easy target.

Whenever possible, do not venture into public venues, unknown or dimly-lit areas alone.

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Last week, the embassy warned Americans anew against kidnap-for-ransom and terrorist groups, particularly in Mindanao, following the July 12 abduction of US nationals Gerfa Lunsmann and her son, Kevin Eric, in Zamboanga City.

TAGS: Americans, Crime, Metro, News, pickpocketing, US Embassy

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