A team of cyber police under the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) detained a gang of five swindlers, including a foreign citizen, which had duped people to earn money illegally using social media platforms Likee and Bigo live.
The detainees are Mostafa Sayeef Reza (26), Md Arif Hossain (27), SM Nazmul Haque (27), Asma-ul-Husna Shejuti (28), and an unnamed foreign national.
An official from the Cyber Police Centre of CID told The Business Standard that a Chinese national, involved with the racket, was also detained from Karwan Bazar during a drive on Saturday.
According to CID press releases issued today, Mostafa Sayeef Reza was the Bangladeshi admin of a Bigo Live account and Md Arif Hossain worked to recruit girls on the platform. SM Nazmul Haque was one of the top Bangladeshi agents for selling virtual currency, Bigo Live Diamonds, and Asma-ul-Husna Shejuti served as the head of admins, while the foreign national was directly involved in the operation.
Names of several other gang members were revealed during the initial investigation.
The group allegedly transacted approximately a hundred crore taka in the last one year via different banks and mobile banking services.
During the drive, police seized eight mobile phones, four laptops, seven credit cards, six checkbooks, and Tk50,460 in cash.
Likee is a short video creation and sharing app, and Bigo Live is a live streaming platform. Both apps are owned by Singapore-based BIGO Technology, which was founded in 2014 by David Li and Jason Hu.
The police investigation has found that Bigo Live has two types of IDs - Broadcaster ID and Supporter or Sender ID - one of which is used for streaming live videos and the other one is used for making illegal money by providing video streamers with digital coins that could later be changed into local currency.
The main target for these apps are people from the younger generation and Bangladeshi expatriates. General users have to buy digital diamonds to get access to the platform which can be bought via mobile financing services.
Several agencies, including many in Bangladesh, actively work to deliver these diamonds to general users in exchange for a certain amount of money.
These agencies can be reached via social media platforms used to advertise their service. Local agencies have been using different illegal ways to launder money abroad in order to source these diamonds from foreign admins of the app.
The filing of a case is underway.
statement of BIGO authority
BIGO Technology (BIGO) would like to state that the company has a zero-tolerance policy against any criminal activity by any person or individual, regardless of whether or not the person is involved with any of the company's local agency partners. We have developed rigorous policies and processes, combined with our industry-leading technology to combat any criminal behaviour. At the same time, we do not take a side with or endorse any isolated action of any person or organization who may or would have any intention of involving BIGO's name in any criminal activity. We are conducting a thorough review of this case and will work with relevant law enforcement agencies in whatever way we can. Our commitment to ensuring a safe, secure and trustworthy environment for our users is to be upheld in the days to come.
As a company based in Singapore, we are humbled by the connections that our digital media platforms bring to our users in Bangladesh. BIGO has operations in more than 20 countries around the world, one of which is Bangladesh. We aim to create positive value for our users in the region, and we comply with all regional and national laws and regulations in whichever market we operate.
We will cooperate closely with the law enforcement agencies and the government for upholding regional and national laws and values while at the same time bringing significant opportunity and value to a new generation of users.