Two Israel Policemen Indicted for Stealing From Migrants

Bisan Yahiya and Nazia Saab are accused of blackmailing Chinese migrant workers who were running a gambling operation for 18 months while wearing uniforms and their weapons

An Israeli police car, on August 13, 2018.
Tomer Applebaum

Two police patrolmen from Tel Aviv are accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of shekels that migrant workers who could not open a bank account had saved.

The two, Bisan Yahiya and Nazia Saab are also accused of blackmailing Chinese migrant workers who were running a gambling operation for 18 months while wearing uniforms and their weapons. The Tel Aviv District Court extended their remand through Tuesday.

According to the charge sheet filed by the Police Investigations Department, the two threatened the workers that if the police would raid and shut down their gambling house, located in the southern Tel Aviv neighborhood of Neve Sha’anan, if they didn’t pay them a bribe. They collected from one of the Chinese migrant workers bribes of 4,000-7,000 shekels ($1,075-$1,880) a month. The cops allegedly helped the owner of a store in the neighborhood, Tiran Rahum, and his partner.

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In two other incidents listed in the indictment, the two visited the neighborhood while on duty to rob the migrant workers, conducting a search of their belongings and apartments. Last June, they arrived at one apartment on Neve Sha’anan Street, in which there were several migrant workers. They conducted a search without a warrant and took 4,000 shekels that they had found. Likewise, they ordered one migrant worker to empty his pockets, stealing another 4,000 shekels from him.

Later, the two robbed an apartment on Levinsky Street, where money was being held for migrant workers, mainly from Nepal and India, who could not open a bank account. They found and took 319,000 shekels and $8,000. The next day, one of the migrant workers went to the police station on Hamasger Street to file a complaint. Officer Yahiya recognized the worker from the robbery, after which the two officers filed a false report about the incident in the apartment, the charge sheet stated.