Asia

Philippine mayor offers bounty money for shooting criminals

Filipino Cebu City Mayor-elect Tomas Osmena speaks during reward ceremony rites in Cebu City, Philippines, 19 May 2016. Image copyright EPA
Image caption Mayor-elect Tomas Osmena says "what is important is that the robbers will be scared"

The incoming mayor of Cebu city in the Philippines says he will offer bounties to people for killing criminals.

Tomas Osmena said he would pay policemen $1,060 (£730) for each criminal killed and $106 for each one wounded, in an attempt to instil fear.

He has already rewarded an off-duty policeman who shot and injured two suspects when he came across a robbery.

The mayor's comments echo those of the incoming President, Rodrigo Duterte, who has promised to wipe out crime.

Mr Osmena, who won the mayoral elections two weeks ago, emphasised that any killing must be legal, with a licensed gun.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Mr Osmena handed a reward to a police officer who had shot two robbers.

He gave as an example a robbery where civilians might come to the rescue and shoot the robber.

"What is important is that the robbers will be scared," he said. "I am just giving them a warning."

Police officer Julius Sadaya Regis was off duty when he chanced upon a robbery.

As the three robbers fled, Mr Regis shot two of them and duly received his reward from the mayor.

Mr Osmena said he did not care if the reward would encourage vigilantes.

"I will not compromise the safety of our people," he said. "I will defend them. I don't care who gets in the way."

Mr Osmena's pledge comes after Rodrigo "Digong" Duterte won the Philippine presidential elections on 9 May, largely on a controversial anti-crime platform, vowing to kill tens of thousands of criminals.

Since winning the election, Mr Duterte has also said he will bring back the death penalty, with hanging as his preferred method of execution.

His record as the crime-crushing mayor of the southern town of Davao, once notorious for its lawlessness, earned him the name The Punisher, as well as many voters.

Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption The Philippine boxing hero Manny Pacquiao, sworn in as senator on Thursday, says he supports the death penalty.

On Thursday, Philippine boxing hero Manny Pacquiao was sworn in as a senator, after being elected to the upper house in elections earlier this month.

He said he supported President Duterte's plans to impose the death penalty.

"Actually God allows this in the Bible," he told reporters.

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