A Cambridge couple say they feared for their lives as a visit to a medical centre in Mexico ended in intimidation, armed police, a frantic chase and a narrow escape.
In Los Angeles to celebrate 25 years of marriage, Peter and Belinda Varcoe decided to pop to Mexico for a few days.
On the second day Belinda started to feel unwell and a doctor came to the hotel and diagnosed a chest infection, nasal infection and possible mild pneumonia.
They rang their travel insurance company, Southern Cross, and went to the medical centre, where, Mr Varcoe said, a woman asked for his credit card to take deposit, but he refused to hand it over.
The medical centre first gave them an estimate of $US5,100 then a bill of $US9,700, and once back at the hotel, the manager demanded cash payment for the hospital bill.
Now scared, the couple again rang their insurance company who arranged a 2am check-in at the American-owned Hyatt down the road, but a man behind the desk refused to let them leave and began to close the doors.
"I said to Pete, run, for f*** sake run. I took off, he took off after me, and three of them pursued us," Ms Varcoe said.
"We were in fear for our lives."
Safely at their new hotel, the next goal was to get out of Mexico, but at the airport armed police took their passports, saying the hadn't paid their bill and when the couple turned around, the hospital doctors were standing there.
The Varcoes called the embassy and the insurance company once more, and after assurances of money to come, their passports were returned and the relieved couple were able to fly out of Mexico.