Hondurans pay $30 million annually in extortion: Analyst

first_imgBy Dialogo September 24, 2013 Extortion by gang members and organized crime operatives is so common that it is known as a “war tax,” one Tegucigalpa taxi driver said. He and his fellow taxi drivers have to pay organized crime operatives to avoid becoming victims of violence, said the taxi driver, who asked to be identified only as “Carlos” for safety reasons. Organized crime groups have cells of operatives to collect extortion money, Carlos said. “It is the war tax,” he said. “We each have to pay 2,000 lempiras monthly, we hand it to the route boss and a gang member collects the sum from him.” The extortion demands are causing great economic harm to him and his fellow taxi drivers, Carlos said. After paying the extortionists, he and his fellow taxi drivers usually have very little money left over, Carlos said. “We are almost working only for them,” he said. But refusing to pay the extortion is not an option, he said. “If we don’t pay, they kill us,” he said. Carlos changed his routes because the extortion demands in his old route were higher, he said. Taxi drivers are not the only victims of organized crime extortionists. Owners of small grocery stores, clothing shop owners, and restaurant operators are also targets of organized crime extortionists, Carlos said. Many business people cannot afford to make the payments, and close their shops, stalls, and restaurants, Joya said. About 1,500 businesses close every year because they cannot afford to pay extortion demands, he said. Criminals killed at least 84 taxi drivers in Honduras in 2012, according to the National Human Rights Commission. Attackers killed most of them because they refused to pay extortion demands or were unable to make the payments, according to a commission report. Another 15 taxi drivers were severely injured, and 20 passengers were killed or wounded, the report said. Taxi drivers, restaurant operators and shop owners are not the only ones being targeted by extortionists. Even some priests have reported being victims of extortion, authorities said. Reports of extortion are on the increase, authorities said. In 2011, police in Tegucigalpa recorded 163 reports of extortion, authorities said. In 2012, police in the city recorded 755 reports of extortion, an increase of more than 450 percent. Military Police Businesses close, extortion victims killed Most of the organized crime operatives who collect extortion money are boys or teenagers, Joya said. “The collectors are young kids between the ages of 10 and 16, all of them are minors because organized crime groups know that they are protected by law and will be released within 24 hours if they are captured,” Joya said. The boys and teenagers go from one business to the next collecting extortion money, Joya said. “At the national level we estimate criminals are collecting $2.5 million from small businesses per month, or $30 million per year.” center_img Youthful extortionists TEGUCIGALPA: In August 2013, the Honduran Congress approved the creation of the Military Police, which will work with the National Police to fight organized crime, general delinquency, and improve public safety. Fighting extortion by organized crime groups will be one of the main responsibilities of the Military Police. Organized crime operatives are forcing taxi drivers and small business owners in Honduras to pay nearly $10 million annually to extortionists, according to a recent report. There are 16 major markets in Tegucigalpa, where 14,000 stall owners sell clothing, electronics, produce and other kinds of food. Each of the stall owners pays about 300 lempiras a week in extortion money, according to a report by security analyst Billy Joya, a former Honduran police official. That adds up to 16 million lempiras a month and 192 million lempiras a year – the equivalent of $ 9.6 million. Extortion has become common in Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, and La Ceiba, according to the report and law enforcement officials. “War tax” The Military Police is scheduled to begin patrolling in Tegucigalpa and other cities in October 2013. Officials hope the Military Police will help combat extortion and other crimes. “We believe this strengthening will translate into reduced extortions, which by law are now considered acts of terrorism,” said Congressman German Leitzelar. my question is, do you keep a growth chart that can show population the progress of the business field where extortion payments are being eliminated? to what bank do they deposit those taxes, is there any surveillance on the bank accounts, where the amounts of the monthly deposits can be identified and matched with the dates and deposited amounts, and which analyzes what business does the deposited money come from? why don’t they use cops infiltrated as cab drivers!!!! to follow also the businesses that pay taxes a couple of times and then follow up to see where it leads to, if criminals are smart then disguise yourselves as criminals and you will be able to catch them!1 They will never be able to eliminate those delinquents because its a mob associated with the police and high-rank officials, so you need to start with the upper level in order to eliminate some of those delinquent mooches. It’s an unfortunate fact If we change its name, it’s identical to what goes on in Venezuela. Only God can change things, a civil servant will not put away a blackmailer because he cannot do it. If he does, he or his family gets killed, so he would rather play ignorant. This corruption occurs because the governments are accomplices as well and are not interested in doing anything, since there are policemen and politicians involved. It is necessary to perform a deep reform of the judicial laws of that country. THE SECURITY SITUATION IN HONDURAS IS LIKE A STRAIGHT JACKET. ON ONE HAND, ORGANIZED CRIME IS EITHER EXTORTING THE PEOPLE OR KILLING THEM, AND ON THE OTHER HAND, THE WAR TAX AGAINST THE CITIZENS WHO DON’T EVEN HAVE MONEY TO EAT, NOT JUST BECAUSE OF THE PRICES OF THE BASIC FOOD BUT ALSO BECAUSE OF THE HIGH TAXES, TO THE POINT WHERE MUNICIPALITIES HAVE INCREASED TAXES 80 TIMES WITH NO JOBS AND WITHOUT ADDING THE SECURITY RATE. WE ARE CORNERED LIKE IN THE BATTLE BETWEEN HITLER AND THE JEWS…THEY WANT TO ELIMINATE US. It’s a shame what Honduras is going through. Be strong and don’t give in to this abuse and may God protect you from this evil. I wish people were patient, since the police forces will be improved. Yes…congrats to the government for taking immediate action to eliminate the delinquency that has been taking over in almost all countries of the world. I hope it serves as example for all governments worldwide. If the state and its institutions fulfilled their responsibilities, there would be no charges or theft!! I don’t understand why you publish this article discrediting Honduras. Just like all countries we have security issues but there are more good people than bad. I love Honduras and would never leave. It shows the level of social decomposition that the people of Latin America are experiencing.last_img read more

WHO confirms avian flu case in Indonesia

first_imgSep 22, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – The World Health Organization (WHO) today confirmed a new human case of H5N1 avian influenza in Indonesia, but said there is no evidence that the virus is easily spreading from person to person there.The agency said the Indonesian government confirmed a case in an 8-year-old boy who is being treated in a hospital. A WHO reference laboratory in Hong Kong did the confirmatory testing.But despite a growing number of patients being treated for suspicious respiratory illnesses in a Jakarta hospital, the agency said, “Current investigations in Indonesia have produced no evidence that the H5N1 virus is spreading easily from person to person.” Consequently the WHO has not raised its level of pandemic alert, though it promised to keep watching the situation closely.The newly confirmed case means the WHO now recognizes three cases in Indonesia, including a 38-year-old man who died in July and a 37-year-old woman who died Sep 10. The government counts the 38-year-old man’s two young daughters, who also died in July, as cases, but the WHO has said their test results did not meet the criteria for H5N1.The new case increases the WHO’s avian flu tally since late 2003 to 115 cases with 59 deaths, of which 91 cases and 41 deaths occurred in Vietnam.The WHO statement did not say where the 8-year-old boy lives or how he might have been exposed to avian flu. The previous cases have all been in the Jakarta area.Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported that 13 people were being treated for possible symptoms of avian flu today at Jakarta’s Sulianti Saroso Hospital, four more than yesterday. A doctor there said the three newest patients had visited Jakarta’s Ragunan Zoo Sep 18, just before officials closed it because 19 birds there had tested positive for the H5N1 virus.Today’s WHO statement suggested that the rash of suspected cases of avian flu in Indonesia mainly reflects increased vigilance. Because of growing public and governmental concern, “several patients with respiratory symptoms and a history of possible exposure to the avian virus are being evaluated as part of ongoing surveillance efforts,” the agency said.The WHO also said today that tests on samples from the 37-year-old Indonesian woman who died of avian flu earlier this month showed that the virus had not mutated, according to news services.Georg Petersen, the WHO representative in Jakarta, said the virus that killed the woman appeared to be the same as viruses circulating in poultry in Indonesia, according to a report yesterday in the New York Times. The finding, which he called reassuring, was based on a genetic analysis of the virus by Malik Peiris at Hong Kong University.According to the story, Peiris said his analysis, not yet complete, suggests that the virus had not exchanged genes with human flu viruses, an event that could enable it to spread more readily from person to person.See also:Sep 22 WHO statementhttp://www.who.int/csr/don/archive/disease/influenza/2005_09_22a/en/index.htmllast_img read more