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Channel Nine crew in Rio mugging scare

By Debra Killalea of news.com.au

Today Show reporter Christine Ahern and her cameraman were almost robbed just minutes after touching down in Rio. Photo / Twitter / Christine Ahern
Today Show reporter Christine Ahern and her cameraman were almost robbed just minutes after touching down in Rio. Photo / Twitter / Christine Ahern

A Channel Nine crew had a lucky escape after almost being robbed of their camera gear by a group of transvestites along Rio de Janeiro's most famous beach.

Today reporter Christine Ahern revealed how she and her cameraman were approached by would-be thieves just an hour after arriving at the Olympic city.

Ahern and her cameraman were on Copacabana beach when they were approached by the group.

The experienced reporter told 3AW this morning that security nearby acted quickly, but one of the group was hit on the head with a handbag.

"There was a group of transvestites and it all happened in a flash," she said.

"One came straight for my cameraman Glen and that's when security intervened, but he did get clocked on the head with a handbag, which had a brick or something in it as it was pretty hard."

Ahern went on to say how security had advised them to put the camera in a bag which she initially thought was overkill, but was proven wrong.

She said the security guard, believed to be an ex-British special forces officer, was not injuried.

"He's very experienced, he turned to me and said, 'It's been a while since I've been clobbered by a woman's handbag,'" she said.

She also praised the quick thinking of security who defused the situation, adding opportunistic thieves didn't seem phased by the large police presence.

Ahern said there were "military guys with massive guns on every corner" but it showed you still have to have your wits about you.

Brazilian soldiers stand on patrol during a security rehearsal of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games opening ceremony outside Maracana stadium. Photo / Getty Images
Brazilian soldiers stand on patrol during a security rehearsal of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games opening ceremony outside Maracana stadium. Photo / Getty Images

She also said it was just unlucky and if they had been walking in the other direction they may not have even been approached.

The crew were ushered into a nearby hotel where they composed themselves before finishing their cross.

However, she admitted the area had an edgy feel to it.

Ahern said she spoke to a Dutch woman who had lived in Rio for six years who said crime had gone up in recent times due to the economic crisis.

While the Channel Nine crew may have had a lucky escape, the same cannot be said for others.

Earlier this week, Kiwi Jiu-Jitsu competitor Jason Lee said he was kidnapped by men in police uniform before being forced to withdraw cash from teller machines.

Lee tweeted an account of the incident, saying, "What did you guys get up to yesterday? I got kidnapped. Go Olympics! #Rio2016."

Lee, who has been living in Rio for the past 10 months, was later released by the group.

The Kiwi athlete said he didn't know what was more depressing, the fact that "this stuff is happening to foreigners so close to the Olympic Games or the fact that Brazilians have to live in a society that enables this absolute bull*** on a daily basis."

However, crime is not the only issue affecting the Games.

Organisers have also been battered by bad news over the Zika virus, heavy pollution in the sailing and rowing areas as well as complaints over the Olympic village facilities.

- news.com.au

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