Gang that swindled drunk British tourists in Magaluf busted by police

Spanish police have arrested 20 suspected members of a ring that swindled tens of thousands of euros from drunken tourists on the holiday island of Majorca by stealing their credit card numbers.

Gang that swindled drunk British tourists in Magaluf busted by police
The gang targeted drunk tourists in the resort with a reputation for booze and sex. Photo: Jaime Reina / AFP

The ring would steal the codes of the credit cards of customers of hostess bars on the beach resort of Magaluf, which is known for its excesses of alcohol and sex, and sometimes clone the cards, Spain's interior ministry said on Tuesday.

The main victims were tourists from Britain and Scandinavia “who were intoxicated, since in this state it is easier to trick them to obtain the security codes of the cards or to carry out a series of charges of a high amount,” it said in a statement.

“The amount swindled amounts to over €45,000 (50,000 dollars), although it is suspected that it could be higher since many victims have not filed a complaint,” it added.

Police detained four men and 16 women as part of their operation, which involved searches of four hostess bars in Majorca, including two owned by the suspected leader of the ring.

Magaluf, where some 85 percent of holidaymakers are British or Irish nationals, made global headlines last year after a video showing a young woman performing oral sex on several men on the dance floor of a ightclub went viral.

Local authorities subsequently introduced new rules regulating pub crawls and have also banned “balconing” – jumping from one apartment balcony to another or into a swimming pool – after several deaths in recent years.

Last week two British police officers joined their Spanish counterparts in patrolling the streets of Magaluf in a bid to tackle disorderly British holidaymakers.

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Magaluf: Parts of resort may be closed, Spanish authorities warn

Parts of the Spanish resort of Magaluf on the island of Mallorca may be closed down after crowds of young tourists were caught on video running amok without wearing masks or respecting social distancing, authorities said.

Magaluf: Parts of resort may be closed, Spanish authorities warn

Footage of rowdy British and German tourists at the weekend went viral on social media, sparking anger from Spaniards who feared the holidaymakers may spread coronavirus. 

Lawyers for the Balearic Islands government, which governs Mallorca where Magaluf is located, are studying ways to close down the street and bars around Punta Ballena in Platja de Palma. 

The measure would reassure countries like Britain and Germany, whose tourists form the largest groups by nationality to come to the resort, that Magaluf is a safe destination, reported Diario de Mallorca newspaper.

It will form a package of tougher measures, which are due to be unveiled on Tuesday by the regional government, to stamp out loutish behaviour. 

“Of course we want tourists to come, but not carry out these excesses,” said Nati Francés, the deputy mayor of Calvià, which includes Magaluf.

“We want tourists who enjoy nightlife, yes, but we do not want an alcohol theme park.”

The measures may also apply to Sant Antoni de Portmany in Ibiza. 

Face masks are compulsory in the Balearic Islands in all public or private places, including bars and restaurants and can only be removed whilst eating and drinking. Anyone flouting the law faces a fine of €100.

Wearing a mask will not be necessary at the beach, at swimming pools, when playing sports or playing a wind instrument.