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Last Updated: Saturday, 9 December 2006, 09:58 GMT
Stag parties warned of Riga scam
A man advertising a strip club in Riga
Strip clubs in Riga have sprung up around the city centre
British men on stag nights in Latvia are being lured into strip bars before being beaten up and forced to hand over cash, the British embassy has warned.

Officials in the Latvian capital Riga say men are being enticed into the bars with the promise of free alcohol.

They are then prevented from leaving by those running the scam until a large bill has been settled.

The British embassy in Riga is warning those visiting the city of the scam and has contacted the local authorities.

One victim told the BBC his group had been forced to hand over 3,000 after they were lured into a bar and then beaten up.

'Punched'

John, 29, from Shrewsbury, Shropshire, said: "It's pretty frightening when you see one of your friends punched in the stomach and another one getting carted off into a room and you don't know what's happening to them.

"And throughout the whole thing, there's that fear factor of, 'OK, I could roll with the punches, but what's going on with my friends here?'.

"I don't think I deserved it. How can you justify being beaten up for a drink? It just doesn't make any sense."

Strip bar owners said it was British men who were causing trouble and getting into fights.

'Savages'

One owner, Eddie, said: "A lot of them - they're bad lads too. They don't think about Latvian people. They think if they are foreigners everything will be for them. No."

Another, Dima, said: "I saw many, many fights in the clubs. Some time they go away from there blue eye or broken nose."

Earlier this year a Latvian MP branded British tourists "savages" after more people began visiting on cheap flights recently launched from Liverpool.

Oskars Kastens said tourists were behaving inappropriately, particularly at night.

In June officials in Riga - which has recently become a popular destination for revellers and stag parties - said they were considering banning strip clubs from the historic city centre.




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SEE ALSO
Latvian brands tourists 'savages'
04 Aug 06 |  Merseyside
Stagflation
21 Jun 06 |  Magazine
Latvians argue over strip clubs
21 Jun 06 |  Europe
Country profile: Latvia
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Latvia prepares for a tourist invasion
29 Jun 05 |  Crossing Continents

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