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Ontario, B.C. mayors urge Ottawa to create plan to combat business extortion threats

Two Canadian mayors are imploring the federal government to help create a multi-jurisdictional strategy to combat what they say are rising extortion threats towards businesses in their cities, particularly South Asian ones.

In a letter addressed to the federal minister of public safety, the mayors of Brampton, Ont., and Surrey, B.C., say they are deeply concerned about the growing fear being felt by their communities due to the threats.

They say recent reports from their provinces have confirmed links between the extortion attempts and violent acts, including shootings, and police services have acknowledged the gravity of the situation.

A spokesperson for the federal public safety minister says the extortion threats are “deeply concerning” and the RCMP is working with local police forces on the issue.

Last month, Peel Regional Police, whose jurisdiction includes Brampton, said it had launched a task force to investigate the extortion cases.

The police service says victims are contacted through various social media platforms and demands for money allegedly are made under threats of violence, which have occurred in some cases.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 16, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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