Final Word from Monday, May 19, 2003

Police Chief Jiří Kolář told the BBC that as far as he knows, no one has succeeded in extracting money from the police through blackmail. Two recent cases have gotten lots of publicity. The "Olomouc extortionist" threatened to blow up railroad tracks, and the "cyanide extortionist" threatened to poison hospital food. The police showed a willingness to hand over the ransom, but Kolář said this was only done to reduce the threat to the public and to use the money to catch the suspects. In more than half of the 10-15 extortion cases against companies, he said, the culprit has been caught. In the others, the demands were dropped. One of our readers said this could turn into a profitable business for entrepreneurs who figure out the system. Education Minister Petra Buzková said, though, that the police simply need to make it clear that even if the blackmailer gets the money, the police will nab him before he can spend it.


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