Two policemen held on extortion charges

Two officers were arrested in Thessaloniki on suspicion of extortion after allegedly accepting bribes from the owner of an electronic video games arcade in return for offering him protection from authorities, the city’s police chiefs said yesterday. The pair are thought to have accepted between 500 and 700 euros a month since last February in return for ensuring the establishment was not checked by other officers or that its staff was informed of any pending raid. A 2002 anti-gambling law bans pinball machines, one-armed bandits and video games from being played in public. One of the two officers was allegedly caught red-handed accepting a 500-euro bribe in marked bills, police said. Raids on the men’s homes and cars yielded a loaded double-barrel shotgun, a revolver, an air gun, a stiletto blade and two cans of pepper spray.