A Montreal police officer was badly beaten by suspected biker gang members while on vacation in Mexico.

The officer, who is in his late 20s, was with six fellow officers from the Montreal police force and two from Quebec provincial police.

According to Montreal police, the group was staying in the popular resort town of Playa del Carmen. On Saturday, the victim and two of his fellow officers went to a bar in nearby Cancun.

A fight ensued after the victim, who became separated from the others, reportedly tried to photograph a Quebec Hells Angels member who was at the bar. Montreal police would not confirm that detail, but Sgt. Ian Lafrenière said the man was alone when the attack took place.

He said his friends lost sight of him and figured he had returned to the hotel in Playa del Carmen. When they realized he hadn't come back, they returned to the bar and found him badly beaten.

Lafrenière said the officer, who suffered "very serious injuries to his head" and was "barely recognizable," had surgery in a Mexican hospital. He flew home Thursday.

Investigators are planning to meet with the officer to confirm whether it was a simple bar fight, as Mexican police are saying, or whether he was targeted because of his work.

"I'm not saying they're not helping us, but at this moment it's not considered as an aggression against a police officer," Lafrenière said.

"We have to talk to the officer who was severely beaten up. We want to find out what happened, exactly. Was he targeted because he is a police officer? We are trying to discover that."

Lafrenière confirmed the officer is not a member of the force's anti-gang squad.