A 19-year-old Lisbon student was recently stabbed to death, in full daylight, on Copacabana beach, Brazil.
André Bordalo from Belém, in Lisbon, was on his last day of holidays with his parents in Rio de Janeiro, when a man, who was later revealed by police to be a drug addict, tried to steal his rucksack. André shouted at his assailant, who then stabbed him with a knife, at 8.20am on a stretch of beach, in front of the Hotel Pestana, where André had been staying (the same hotel had welcomed the Portuguese Prime Minister José Sócrates the week before during his official visit to the Brazilian city). The knife punctured André’s left lung, causing internal haemorrhaging and almost instant death.
The incident occurred while André’s parents were swimming in the sea, and their son sunbathed on the beach.
The murderer, Claudecir Bezerra da Silva, aged 23, from the Morro da Babilónia favela (shanty town) in Leme, committed the crime just 50 metres away from a group of police. Da Silva tried to flee, but was chased by the police, and caught. A blood-stained bag was recovered, along with the knife used in the attack. Da Silva, who has no previous criminal record, was arrested by the police and detained in custody.
The incident poses the question: How safe is Rio for tourists? Both the Portuguese Consulate and the Rio Civil Police agreed that very few robberies had been carried out on tourists in recent years, thanks to increased policing of the beaches. “It was simply a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. If a local tries to steal your bag, just let them have it, do not put up a struggle. Never take valuables to the beach and only have enough money on you for your needs that day,” advise Rio police.