The "chineros" are a group of robbers well-known for committing daylight thefts in Mexico City's Historic Center and La Merced market. They usually wait for an opportunity to pounce on their victims, who are usually carrying money, and rob them using a technique known as the "Chinese key".
In this method, two people apply pressure to the victim's neck to cause a blackout, while a third threaten with a weapon. These robbers are quick, with assaults lasting less than 15 seconds.
The "chineros" have been active on various streets in the Historic Center, including Eje 1 Norte, Lecumberri, Circunvalación, Manuel Doblado, and Cuba. Reports say that in 2022, there were 10,686 attacks on people walking in Mexico City.
The name "chineros" originated from a video that went viral on Twitter in 2021, showing the use of the "Chinese key" during a robbery. People have said that parts of Mexico City's Secretariat of Citizen Security don't do enough to stop these crimes and that they only care about protecting businesses.
The "chineros" are known for being violent and leaving their victims unconscious and robbed in the middle of the street. A recent example of their activities took place on February 7, when a young man was robbed in broad daylight in front of at least nine witnesses.
On March 28, 2022, the Ministry of Public Security released a video showing three individuals using this technique to rob a passerby on the streets of the Venustiano Carranza district.