October 29, 1998
Guatemalan mob torches bank robbers

                  QUICHEE, Guatemala (Reuters) -- An enraged Guatemalan mob on
                  Wednesday torched the bodies of three bank robbers shot by police, and
                  then threw a captured gang member onto the pyre to be burned alive,
                  officials said.

                  Mardoqueo Diaz of the police force in El Quichee, 150 miles north of the
                  capital Guatemala City, said a 15-strong gang tried to rob a bank but guards
                  fought them off, killing three. Another robber was captured by townspeople.

                  Diaz said local people forced the police to hand over the bodies of the dead
                  criminals and set them alight in front of the bank. The local residents then
                  threw the captured man into the flames, burning him alive.

                  "The rest got away," said Diaz. Soaring crime has led to a vigilante backlash
                  in Guatemala, where the death penalty has won wide popularity. Guatemala
                  this year replaced firing squads with lethal injections.

                  Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.