A doorbell recording of a casual extortion demand by a unionist paramilitary gang has highlighted the openness with which these gangs are now engaging in serious crime across the north of Ireland.
The gangster demanded £10,000 from a woman on the doorstep of her home in east Belfast in an exchange recorded by a Ring camera device (pictured, top left).
In a video released by the Sunday World, a recognisable loyalist figure can be seen coming to the door and in a brief exchange with the householder demands the money. A second gangster remains a few yards away down the garden path.
It was reported the woman’s son ran up a £600 debt to the East Belfast UVF and because of his refusal or inability to pay, the gang have continuously raised the amount running the debt into thousands.
Other parents have faced demands for impossible amounts of money in return for their son or daughter’s safety, as high as £20,000 and £30,000.
The PSNI have done nothing to stop the extortion gangs who are clearly unconcerned about the consequences of being caught on video.
The brazen operation of loyalist paramilitaries has been underpinned by the British establishment’s continuing promotion of their spokesmen and supporters.
Most recently, a paramilitary spokesperson was allowed to convey a “credible threat” of political violence “if unionism and loyalism is continually undermined”.
David Campbell of the Loyalist Communities Council was lauded by the BBC’s Nolan Show as a peacekeeper as the show amplified the evident threat on Thursday night.
It was aired as graffiti threatening Catholics and fresh posters threatening the 26 County Taoiseach Leo Varadkar were erected in loyalist areas across the North.
SDLP south Belfast representative Matthew O’Toole was taken off-air during Friday morning’s Nolan Show for challenging the host Stephen Nolan (pictured, right) over the show’s transmission of the threats.
The SDLP subsequently released a statement, which reads: “The SDLP is concerned about the balance of editorial decisions taken by the BBC to platform unelected spokespersons describing ‘credible threats’ from proscribed paramilitary groups while legitimate criticism from elected representatives is curtailed.
“Our party believes in fulsome debate but it is especially important that elected officials - including the Leader of the Opposition at Stormont - are able to speak on behalf of those who elected them and to challenge the threat of violence.
“Following a decision to end a discussion with SDLP Assembly Group Leader Matthew O’Toole MLA on Radio Ulster this morning, the SDLP will be seeking urgent clarification from the leadership of BBC Northern Ireland about these editorial decisions and to address this very serious matter.”