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Safety guidlines
Similar incidents
Katharina & Peter

This webpage is meant to be an extensive warning and information site about safety issues for tourists and travellers in South America, created by the families and friends of Katharina Koller and Peter Kirsten Rabitsch, a young Austrian couple, kidnapped for bankcard robbery and murdered in February 2006 in Bolivia.

Safety guidelines for backpack tourists in South America:
Safety precautions against bankcard robbery and being kidnapped:

  • On carrying money: plastic money vs. traveller cheques
  • Reduce your risk for longterm-kidnapping
  • Common traps for express-kidnappings
  • The false policemen – false taxi – false tourist kidnapping method
  • How to behave...

Tips and advice from experienced South America travellers

Tips and safety advice from 'search and rescue' expert Hilik Magnus
Reports of robberies and kidnappings by fellow travellers:
"...I am also backpacking in Latin America, and I have been in Bolivia for the last 2 weeks. I arrived the day before yesterday. I started to search for a hostel in the region around Plaza San Francisco (Tourist accommodation), when I was all of a sudden strangled from behind until I was unconscious by 3 guys. When I gained consciousness I lay on the street by myself. The Swiss Embassy helped me to close my credit card account. However, I also heard that this kind of incident happens on a daily basis. This simplification of violence is terrible…"

The tragic case of Katharina and Peter:
In November 2005 Katharina and Peter started their trip around the world, like so many backpackers, with the vision to see fascinating countries, experience different cultures and get to know the world a little closer.. It was a trip they had long been looking forward to and they had long been preparing for… and a trip they were not to return from alive.. …Upon arrival in La Paz, Peter and Katharina had fallen victim to a common ploy, in which several criminals cooperate to credibly trick their victims and kidnap them: