Police arrest four on extortion charges in Erbil’s Christian district

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Kurdistan 24 |
Police arrest four on extortion charges in Erbil’s Christian district
Photos of the suspects released by Erbil’s police department on Monday. (Photo: Erbil Police)
Kurdistan Erbil Police Arrests Gangs

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – As local law enforcement continues a crackdown on illegal activities in the Kurdistan Region, police in the capital of Erbil announced on Monday that they had arrested four males accused of making threats of violence to extort money from others.

The arrests came after a resident of Erbil’s Ainkawa district lodged a complaint with local authorities, claiming that the four suspects had made multiple threats against him in which they demanded cash payments, the Erbil Police Department said in a public statement.

“We were alerted of a case of extortion in our community,” began Commander Fakhruddin, director of the Ainkawa district police department. “We immediately began investigating the [reported] incidents and arrested four offenders.”

The police listed the ages of the suspects as 20, 26, 28, and 30.

Police authorities handed the case over to the city’s court, which in turn decided to put the four behind bars on the basis of an article on “misusing mobile phones” in Iraq’s Penal Code, suggesting that the four men had somehow used one or more cellphones to send threats to the victim or otherwise in commission of the crime.

Ainkawa is known as Erbil’s Christian quarter, as it is home to large numbers of Iraqi Christians who have been displaced from other parts of Iraq in recent years and boasts multiple churches and Christian-based organizations.

On Nov. 5, Erbil security forces announced the arrest of as many as 100 charged with dealing with or trading in counterfeit US dollars, euros, or Iraqi currency so far in 2018.

“I was captured with 13 million Dinars in my possession when attempting to cross a checkpoint,” one of the arrestees told Kurdistan 24 at the city’s Crime-Prevention Department. The stacks of money the police captured were reported to be made up of mainly large denomination notes.

On Nov. 1, police in Erbil seized stores of banned, unlicensed, and counterfeit medicines and made several arrests as part of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) ongoing crackdown on backdoor dealings in the pharmaceutical industry.

The actions came after the head of an investigative court in Erbil examined the case of illicit dealings involving various healthcare-related businesses and ruled in favor of the arrest of the individuals involved and seizure of their products and property.

Editing by John J. Catherine