ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Aug. 23, 2010) – Muslim traders selling second-hand cell phones in Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines have accused local members of the police elite SWAT team of extortion.
They said the SWAT team seized their phones after they failed to pay seven thousand pesos the policemen were demanding from them every week. “They raided our places and seized all our phones and this came after we failed to pay seven thousand pesos they were asking from us,” one trader told TV 11, a local television station.
Another trader also showed text messages purportedly from one of the officers who warned that police would raid their place if they fail to pay up. “We are seeking help from the government to stop these nefarious activities. We are poor, we want justice,” he said.
There was no immediate statement from the authorities on the allegations, but unscrupulous policemen had been accused in the past of protecting illegal gambling in Zamboanga City. (Mindanao Examiner)