The Dangers of the "Chineros" Thieves in Mexico City

Discover the modus operandi of the "chineros", a group of robbers known for committing daylight thefts in the Historic Center and La Merced market of Mexico City. Learn about the violent crimes committed by the "chineros" and the areas where they are active.

The Dangers of the "Chineros" Thieves in Mexico City
User shares photos of how "los chineros" subdue their victims in La Merced, Mexico City. Credit: SinEmbargo

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.

Be careful to watch out, chineros operate.
This is how "los chineros" operate. 3 of them come to you, 1 puts you to sleep and 2 hold you while they rob you. They apply force to your neck until you pass out.

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.

Here are some images of "chinero" thieves.