MOROCCO

Video captures Moroccan policemen blatantly extorting tourist

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Video screen capture.

In Morocco, it’s not unusual for a policeman to squeeze money out of you under false pretences. But some members of the police force don’t even bother to make up a reason – as shown in a video posted online on January 10. It was filmed by a Spanish motorcyclist visiting Morocco, who was forced to pay up just to continue on his way between the southern town of Tan Tan and Laâyoune, in the Western Sahara.

The video shows the driver stopping at a police checkpoint. Then, two Moroccan police agents demand his passport. After looking at his nationality, they strike up a conversation about Spanish football. The man says he is a supporter of the Atletico Madrid team. Very quickly, one of the policemen asks him if he has a “present” for them (“regalo” in Spanish). The tourist responds in the negative, adding that he has “neither a watch, nor rings”. The policeman then gets right to the point, and demands some “euros”. The motorcyclist responds that he has only his motorcycle and some clothes. The policeman insists, and the motorcyclist finally gives him 100 Moroccan dirhams (about 10 euros). Seeing the policeman’s ecstatic response, the tourist suspects that the amount is too high, and asks for change… The police agents give him back 50 dirhams (about 5 euros). The other half goes into their pockets.

This is not unusual in Morocco: at the beginning of January, a video was posted showing a driver handing over 100 dirhams to a policeman to get his identity papers back. Last August, another video showed two policemen stopping cars under false pretences, and asking for money before letting drivers continue.