Having just had to angrily ask a new (Colombian) neighbour to turn their damn music down (everyone knows that if you shout loudly in English everyone understands, regardless of their own language…), I was interested to read that in 2022 the National Police intervened in more than 140 parties that were not allowed, known here as “parkings” (presumably because they are usually held in a parking lot). In 2023, so far, they have intervened 15 such parties. The police are quoted as saying that these parties are “characterised by the consumption of alcoholic beverages on public roads, which disturbs the tranquility of neighbors and threatens peaceful coexistence, in which acts of violence can be generated”. The problem is not only a love for loud music, but the bluetooth, standalone speaker units with too-powerful bass woofers (I believe that is the right term) that generate low-frequency sounds that it is near impossible to block out or ignore…

Even at the otherwise pleasant day out in Panama Viejo, a parkland containing the ruins of the original Panama City (which burned down during an attack by the pirate, Captain Henry Morgan, in the 16th Century), a sound system was blasting out too-loud music that no-one was listening to…

There is, apparently, a city ordnance and you can call the police, at least in the evening, if disturbed. Our daughter had to do so once, during the lockdown, when a party was still loudly going on in the early hours of the morning (and when any sort of party was unlawful anyway).

29 JANUARY 2023


On 29 January, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported on “pig-butchering”: a brutal and elaborate form of organised crime, often involving criminal syndicates, modern-day slaves and victims around the world, and involves scammers grooming their targets before stealing huge sums in cryptocurrency.  It says that an investigation with The Observer newspaper has found that organised crime groups are using the UK as a virtual base for their operations, exploiting lax regulation to carry out fraud on an industrial scale.  Analysis has identified 168 UK companies accused of running fraudulent cryptocurrency or foreign exchange trading schemes, around half of which are likely to be linked to pig-butchering scams.  Many of these firms are linked through domain registrations and while the vast majority of company directors are resident in China, details about the real owners are scant due to loopholes in the Companies House registration system.