Mexico attorney general gets microchip implant

MEXICO CITY, Mexico (Reuters) -- Mexico's attorney general said on Monday he had had a microchip inserted under the skin of one of his arms to give him access to a new crime database and also enable him to be traced if he is ever abducted.

Attorney General Rafael Macedo said a number of his staff had also been fitted with chips which will give them exclusive and secure access to a national, computerized database for crime investigators that went live on Monday.

"It's an area of high security, it's necessary that we have access to this, through a chip, which what's more is unremovable," Macedo told reporters.

"The system is here and I already have it. It's solely for access, for safety and so that I can be located at any moment wherever I am," he said, admitting the chip hurt "a little."

The chips would enable the wearer to be found anywhere inside Mexico, in the event of an assault or kidnapping, said Macedo.

And kidnapping is a huge problem here. From 1992 to 2002, Mexico saw some 15,000 kidnappings, second only to war-torn Colombia, according to the Inter-American Development Bank.

Crime-fighting is a dangerous business in Mexico, where police are notoriously corrupt and where political figures and investigative journalists sometimes risk assassination.

Mexico has seen a surge in violent crime recently, with an onslaught of headlines about murders and kidnappings prompting Fox to pledge in a national broadcast to crack down on crime.

In June a quarter of a million people protested the government's failure to combat crime. (CNN/ Tuesday, July 13, 2004)