Friday, October 19, 2012

Honduras: Canadian Conservation Officer, 34, Shot, Killed in Roatán, Ostensibly Over iPhone

Although details are very sketchy at this time, The Vancouver Sun and Robert Armstrong of the Bay Islands Voice, have reported that a 34-year-old conservation officer with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) in British Columbia (BC) was shot and killed on the island of Roatán early on Wednesday (October 17). 

DFO Officer Tim Vallee was reportedly on holiday in Roatán when he was confronted by two Hondurans who demanded his iPhone at roughly 0100 hours. The incident occurred outside of a local bar known as La Cueva when an altercation ensued between the victim and his assailants, resulting in the DFO officer being shot in the head. Although taken to the hospital, he was pronounced dead on arrival.

COMMENT: First of all, we extend our sympathy and condolences to Mr. Vallee's family at this time of grief and hope that Mr. Vallee's body is repatriated to them as soon as possible.

Citing privacy concerns, Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) understandably stated that it was unable to release further information.

Considering that our postings are dedicated to contributing to the prevention of similar attacks in the future, law enforcement officers of all nations are urged to NOT resist armed robbery when traveling abroad for pleasure, but particularly in Honduras, which has the highest homicide rate in the world.

I should also note that as a matter of practice, I strongly urge all travelers to not carry their home-based smart-phones while visiting developing countries, largely because of the high level of smart-phone theft and robbery.

Alternatively, I recommend that travelers purchase an inexpensive unlocked, quad-band mobile phone for when they are abroad, whereby such phones can be easily used by purchasing a local SIM card and accompanying minutes on a load-card. Such phones rarely attract the attention of local criminals.

As this posting is filed, no arrests have been made, nor are any expected, considering that only 15% of violent crimes in Honduras result in an arrest.

Roatán is the largest island in Honduras’ Bay Islands and is a popular destination for scuba divers and outdoor recreation.