Two arrested over protection racket

Two Albanian nationals have been arrested in Athens, accused of running a nightspot protection racket that blackmailed business owners into paying them thousands of euros, police said yesterday. The two men, aged 39 and 36, are believed to have demanded between 500 and 2,000 euros from nightspot owners, mostly in central Athens, in exchange for not causing damage to their businesses. Police were tipped off about the alleged blackmailers by a cafeteria owner in Peristeri, western Athens, who could not afford to meet the payments demanded from her by the suspects. An additional three business owners have also come forward and told authorities they were blackmailed by the suspects. Police said they have launched a manhunt for three other people in connection to the protection racket.