MURDER IN PARADISE How Mexico’s party hotspot Cancun has become one of the world’s murder capitals

(THE SUN) — THE Mexican tourist hotspot of Cancun is in the grips of a violent and growing crime wave that threatens to leave it a ghost town.

Violence has escalated to such an extent that the murder rate has doubled in the past year – with 169 killings recorded in the first half of last year alone.

Amid a thriving drug trade and widespread extortion, fear is rampant and most of the murders go unsolved.

Now, the situation is so dire that its multi-billion dollar tourism industry is under threat.

British journalist Krishnan Guru-Murthy traveled to Mexico for SBS’s Dateline to investigate why so many murders are taking place.

“This is one of the most beautiful views in the world and we are the only people here,” Guru-Murthy said from Cancun’s main beach.

Later on, just before sunset, he found himself in the middle of a crime scene — a man had been gunned down in the sand. Four men had come in through a luxury hotel and attacked the man, who later died in hospital. And this was meant to be one of the safer places in the area frequented by tens of thousands of Brit tourist ever year.

Guru-Murthy was also shocked by the lack of police presence, with many tourists unaware of the gruesome sight just meters away.

“It’s as if the police don’t want anyone to notice. There’s minimum fuss and hardly any officers here,” he said.

While it’s the third shooting on the beach in Cancun this year, tourists are deliberately not told of the dangers.

Even when a well-known police commander, his wife and baby nephew were shot dead, nobody was arrested.

There are fears that Cancun is now on the brink of ruin and could face a similar demise as another well known Mexican resort, Acapulco.

This was once one of the world’s most glamorous locations but is now Mexico’s murder capital.

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