Story By: Angjela Trajkovska, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
Video Credit: CEN
This is the moment a suspected thief is held down and has the words “For being a rat” branded on his back in Spanish with a red hot poker.
An eyewitness with a smartphone filmed the punishment in the port city of Ensenada in north-western Mexico’s Baja California state.
The footage shows the man lying face down with a blindfold around his head and with his hands tied behind his back.
Two men can be seen restraining him while a third holds a red hot, home-made brand above his back.
Picture Credits: CEN
Suddenly the third man presses the brand down in the middle of the man’s back and pushes it back and forth to maximise the damage.
The man tries to struggle free but he cannot get away and the hot metal is pressed into his skin for nearly 20 seconds.
The victim can be heard gasping in pain but his attackers tell him: “Shut up! We’re not charging you for this!”
When the brand is finally pulled clear, the man is left with ‘POR RATA’ (FOR BEING A RAT) across his back in huge letters.
In Mexican criminal culture, the word ‘rata’ (rat) is used to refer to someone who is regarded as a thief.
There is no report on whether police are investigating the incident but the footage is making a big impression on social meda.
Netizen ‘Toninho’ commented: “If he was a thief it’s well deserved but if they are wrong an apology will not be enough.”
Another online commentator, ‘Hector Escobedo’, added: “It would have been better if they had placed it on his face.”
Ensenada, which lies just 125 kilometres (78 miles) south of the US city of San Diego, is nicknamed ‘La Cenicienta del Pacífico’ (The Cinderella of the Pacific).