Fears for security of climate conference

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A gang of suspected kidnappers arrested by Mexican marines had detailed plans of security arrangements for next week's UN climate change talks in Cancun, the Milenio newspaper reported.

The heavily armed men had maps, photographs of the Moon Palace hotel scheduled to host the event, as well as the location of police and army security checkpoints.

The men were arrested on Saturday, the navy said in a statement. It did not mention any link to the Cancun climate meeting.

The paper's website showed photographs of seven detainees flanked by masked marines. On a table in front of the men were false federal police uniforms, weapons and ammunition.

Environment ministers from almost 200 countries will gather in Cancun from 29 November to 10 December to try to toughen the world's response to climate change.

Mexico is battling a crime wave touched off by a drug war that has pushed some drug cartels into other crimes such as kidnapping and extortion.

Kidnapping is an increasing problem in Mexico where business owners and executives have been targeted along with ordinary people.

Security at the climate change meeting is expected to be heavy. Organisers have set up a checkpoint outside the Moon Palace hotel where delegates will be screened.

Mexican authorities are denying reports that a gang of kidnappers was caught in the Caribbean resort of Cancun with security plans and diagrams of the site where an international conference on climate change will be held next week.

Local and international news media issued the reports over the weekend.

The federal Attorney General's Office says that they are untrue.

In a statement released Monday, the agency said that a gang of 10 alleged kidnappers was caught and two victims freed at a motel in Cancun on Friday.

The statement said that the suspects "had no documents of any type," but did have two rifles and a pistol.

Cancun has not suffered from any large-scale drug violence, unlike many cities in northern Mexico.