Jamaica: Gangsters 'dressing as women'

Gangsters in Jamaica are dressing up as women to dodge a security forces crackdown, a report suggests.

Others are "bleaching" their skin, growing beards or shaving their heads, while many have gone into hiding altogether, according to Supt Howard Chambers, who's quoted by the Jamaica Observer. "Others are going as far as changing their identities and wearing women's clothing to pass through communities undetected," the officer reportedly says. The Observer reports the strategies are being used because of an ongoing police and military operation to track down gang members and wanted men.

It seems it's not all plain sailing for the police, however. According to the Jamaica Star, High Command raised the threat level against police officers to extreme, meaning "attack against police officers on or off duty is imminent". Apparently the operation to dismantle gangs and criminal networks, and seize firearms, was a major factor - as was the police shooting dead some gang members during armed confrontations. Parts of the island have been plagued by gang violence for years and the government has said it wants to lower the murder rate from 41 to 12 murders for every 100,000 Jamaicans by 2017.

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