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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Anti-Crime Group Forms

Russian bankers and businessmen are so concerned at the rising rate of crime in Moscow that they have started a fund to help reequip the city's police.

Mayor Yury Luzhkov was Thursday elected chairman of the newly established Board of Trustees, a joint group of bankers and city policemen.

Luzhkov said the goal of the board was to coordinate the work of all funds, companies and banks that wanted to help in the financing and reequipment of law-and-order organs.

"What we do now to fight crime is not enough," he said. "We need to attract extra resources and we hope this new undertaking will be supported by business."

The formation of this new board follows the announcement of new figures which show the speed with which organized crime is growing. According to the Interior Ministry, there were 200 contract killings in Russia in 1993, compared with 100 in 1992. Most were committed against businessmen.

Extortion is also increasing at a rapid rate, the ministry said. There had been 8,014 cases of extortion over the first six months in 1994, compared with 5,566 during the same period in 1993.

Hostage-taking has boomed too, with ransom demands ranging from 5 million rubles ($2,300) to 500 million rubles. According to Interior Ministry statistics, there were 51 cases of hostage-taking considered in courts in 1993, compared with only three cases in 1992. There were no such cases in 1991, according to official records.

The problem is exacerbated by the fact that hundreds of police officers nationwide are taking part in crime, said Alexander Dementyev, acting head of the Organized Crime Department.

Dementyev said. "Very often people do not believe that police could help and protect them."

Dementyev said there were cases when policemen cooperated with extortionists or became extortionists themselves. In 1993, the security department of the Interior Ministry charged 500 policemen with extortion, he said.