Police intervene after tourists are threatened by "trileros" in Arenal.


The "trileros" - three-card tricksters or ones with three cups or shells - ply a trade on the margins of legality. Their seemingly petty criminality does, however, and like some illegal street sellers as well, disguise more sinister behaviour. Some French tourists in Arenal on Saturday discovered how sinister this can be.

Two members of the "El Rubio" clan were arrested by local police around 10pm when they threatened one of the tourists with a knife placed against his stomach. The other threatened the rest of the group with cutting their throats if they complained about being robbed. Charges following their arrests added to ones previously made against other members of the clan.

Meanwhile, trileros with another clan, "Los Bustamante", have been ordered to get off the island. They were arrested on 12 August and given seven days by a judge to leave. A restriction order was also given by the judge, banning them from going within three kilometres of the whole of Playa de Palma, except if they had to make necessary arrangements for leaving Majorca.

One of the Bustamante was detained last Wednesday as he was leaving a travel agency, having bought a ticket to Italy (where he's from). Matteo R. was held overnight by the National Police and then released. When the arrests of 12 August were made, various means for playing the shell game were seized as well as 450 euros, the product of tricks played. They were released the next day but obliged to comply with the expulsion order. They were charged with being part of a criminal organisation and of having committed fraud, theft and robbery with violence.