Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tourist forced to buy laptops for Filipino police

Five policemen in the Philippines forced a German tourist to buy them laptop computers by threatening him with false drug and terrorism charges, a police chief said Tuesday.

The incident, which took place in Manila's upscale financial district of Makati, is the latest embarrassment for the country's police force.

Makati police chief Senior Superintendent Froilan Bonifacio expressed outrage and said the accused policemen may have carried out similar extortion scams in the past.

"I'm not just shocked. I'm angry, for God's sake. Maybe they have been doing this thing for years," Bonifacio told news agency AFP.

The five policemen approached the German tourist at a Makati shopping mall on January 29 and initially accused him of buying counterfeit goods. When he denied this, they accused him of illegal drug possession, Bonifacio said.

When this failed to scare him, the policemen threatened to arrest the German for supporting "terrorism". To prove his innocence, the policemen said he must buy laptops for their station, said the police chief.

The policemen took the German man to a luxurious mall where he was forced to buy six laptop computers with his credit card, according to Bonifacio.

After the purchase, the policemen set the tourist free but warned him not to tell anyone of the incident.

However, a German embassy spokesman said the tourist reported the matter to consular officials, who informed Makati police commanders.

The suspect policemen have had their weapons taken away and could be sacked as well as being hit with criminal charges, Bonifacio said.

The German embassy gave no other details about the case, but praised police commanders for taking action against the five.

To read more: http://www.thelocal.de/society/20110208-32949.html

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