x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Two police officers accused of extorting street vendors

Two police corporals appeared in court yesterday accused of abusing their positions to kidnap and extort money from illegal street traders and their customers.

DUBAI // Two police corporals appeared in court yesterday accused of abusing their positions to kidnap and extort money from illegal street traders and their customers. The Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance was told that HI, aged 19 and AM, 20, both Emirati, used their police car and uniforms to make victims hand over money.

In his confession, AM said he and his partner thought no one involved in illegal street trade would report them for fear of facing charges themselves. By this method, the two policemen stole Dh3,730 (US$1,050), which they split between themselves. AM said they also took pornographic DVDs from street vendors. Three vendors told prosecutors that they were picked up by the defendants in April 2009.

They said the men, wearing full police uniform and driving a Dubai Police 4x4, stopped them and forced them in to their car. The traders were searched and their wallets taken before they were asked to leave, records showed. Another victim told prosecutors that he was warned by other police officers about the pair. He said that one day, as he was purchasing pornography from a street vendor, he was approached by the officers, who told him to get in their car. He said he saw a Bangladeshi "illegal" in the car, as well. He said he was slapped and told to hand over his wallet, from which they took Dh1,500.

A police lieutenant said the force had received a tip-off about the defendants stealing from vendors in the Al Quoz industrial area, and arrested them as they were committing the crime. The two have been previously found guilty of extorting money from illegal street vendors, for which they were sentenced to one year in jail.The court adjourned the trial to May 25 to present witnesses in the case.

amustafa@thenational.ae