Satellites track Mexico kidnap victims with chips
By Mica Rosenberg
QUERETARO, Mexico (Reuters) - Wealthy Mexicans, terrified of soaring kidnapping rates, are spending thousands of dollars to implant tiny transmitters under their skin so satellites can help find them tied up in a safe house or stuffed in the trunk of a car.
Kidnapping jumped almost 40 percent between 2004 and 2007 in Mexico according to official statistics. Mexico ranks with conflict zones like Iraq and Colombia as among the worst countries for abductions.
The recent kidnap and murder of Fernando Marti, 14, the son of a well-known businessman, sparked an outcry in a country already hardened to crime.
More middle-class people also are also seeking out the tiny chip designed by Xega, a Mexican security firm whose sales jumped 13 percent this year.
The company injects the crystal-encased chip, the size and shape of a grain of rice, into clients' bodies with a syringe. A transmitter then sends signals via satellite to pinpoint the location of a person in distress.
Cristina, 28, who did not want to give her last name, was implanted along with seven other members of her family last year as a "preventive measure."
"It's not like we are wealthy people, but they'll kidnap you for a watch ... Everyone is living in fear," she said.
The chips cost $4,000 plus an annual fee of $2,200. Continued...