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Published on Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Manila police accused of tourist scam

Five Philippine policemen who forced a German tourist to buy them laptop computers by threatening him with false drug and terrorism charges are facing dismissal.

The incident, which took place in Manila's financial district of Makati, comes after the city put “tourist police” on the streets with the promise that they were there to assist visitors.

AAP reported the five policemen were alleged to have approached the German tourist at a shopping mall on January 29 and initially accused him of buying counterfeit goods.

When he denied this, they accused him of illegal drug possession, said the local police chief.

When this failed to scare him, the policemen threatened to arrest the German for supporting "terrorism". To prove his innocence, the policemen said he must buy laptops for their station, said the police chief.

The policemen took the German man to a store where he was forced to buy six laptop computers with his credit card..

A German embassy spokesman said the tourist reported the matter to consular officials, who informed Makati police commanders.

In the highest-profile incident to tarnish the image of Manila's law enforcers recently, an ex-policeman hijacked a busload of Hong Kong tourists last year in a bid to be cleared of graft charges.

Eight of the tourists died as police bungled a rescue attempt.

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