protection money

protection money (uncountable)

  1. Money paid, especially at regular intervals, to criminals or to corrupt officials who threaten to cause harm to the payer or to his or her business if the money is not paid.
    • 1827, Sir Walter Scott, "The Highland Widow" ch. 2, in The Chronicles of the Canongate:
      Those in the Lowland line who lay near him, and desired to enjoy their lives and property in quiet, were contented to pay him a small composition, in name of protection money, and comforted themselves with the old proverb that it was better to "fleech the deil than fight him."
    • 1912, David Graham Phillips, Susan Lenox: Her Fall and Rise, ch. 13:
      [T]he police had raised the tariff for sporting houses, and would collect seventy-five and a hundred a month protection money.
    • 1993 June 15, "Four Men Arrested In Protection Scheme ↗," New York Times (retrieved 4 June 2014):
      Four members of an Asian gang were arrested yesterday and charged with extortion and conspiracy for demanding protection money from Chinese restaurants in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
    • 2007 Nov. 6, Rob Crilly, "[,8599,1680997,00.html Kenya Accused of Mass Killings]," Time (retrieved 4 June 2014):
      [T]he Mungiki . . . hit the headlines in April with a string of beheadings as they tussled for control of lucrative bus routes by executing drivers and conductors who refused to pay protection money.
    • 2010 Dec. 1, Luke Harding, "WikiLeaks cables condemn Russia as 'mafia state' ↗," The Guardian (UK) (retrieved 4 June 2014):
      [T]he FSB, interior ministry and police collect protection money from businesses.
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