Multiple arrests made in crackdown on protection racket


Members of a criminal network that extorted protection money from some 150 store owners in Attica have been arrested, police said on Thursday.

A total of 21 people have been arrested but 76 are to be charged with involvement in the gang, which is alleged to have forced each of the shop owners to pay between 300 and 500 euros.

Police said they know the identities of 22 of the 55 suspects yet to be arrested. Three policemen are thought to have been involved, although two of them had minor roles.

According to officers, three gangs worked together to divide up territory and blackmail their victims.

Those arrested face charges of forming a criminal gang, serial blackmail, theft and forgery, among others.

During their raids, officers seized 22,550 euros in cash, five cars, two motorcycles, a handgun, two bulletproof vests, four knuckle dusters and three knives.