The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of police has busted a "fraud gang" and arrested 15 members of the gang in the capital's Pallabi area, for allegedly swindling money from people–in the name of gift-giving on social media.
Sheikh Md Rezaul Haider, Additional Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of CID, briefed the media at CID headquarters in the city on Friday.
During a briefing, the official said CID, on Thursday, also seized nine laptops, 22 mobile phones and five diaries used in the scam from their possession.
The arrestees are: Nzubechukwu Eugene Dara, 30, Chuawuma John Okechukwu, 40, Uchenna Damian Emesiani, 30, ChisomAnthonoyEkwenze, 35, Simon Ifechukwude Okafor, 30, Henry OsitaOkechukwu, 31, Ifeanyi Johnpaul Chinweze, 32, Okeke Peter, 32, Emeka Donatus, 48, Gozie Onyedo, 47, Peter Chika Akpu, 48, Obinna Sunday, 40, Nwanna Young, 34, Jeremiah ChukwudiEzeobi, 34, and Stephen Ozioma Obiakoeze, 34.
Among the arrestees, just one is a current student at Eastern University's Faculty of Business Administration while seven others do not even have a passport.
"They came into the country on a student and business visa but we did not find any such documents during the drive," the official further said.
"Two Bangladeshi women who were associated with the gang, to lure and trap people, have managed to evade arrest. We are now looking for them," he added.
The CID official also said the ring members cheated people, posing as female American army officers through fake Facebook accounts or WhatsApp, and tried to make friendly relationships with people from different countries including Bangladesh.
"They would then send a message to the victims saying that they are from Afghanistan, Yemen or Syria and have a few million dollars. They said they wanted to gift the dollars to their new friends [the victims]. They also lured the victims in with expensive gifts through national or international courier service," he added.
The additional DIG added that after two days, the victim would get a video call on which the ring members showed that the parcel had reached the airport's customs office and asked them to deposit a certain amount as value added tax (VAT) and other duties.
One such victim, Farhad Hossain Talukder, sent Tk5.25 lakh to different bank accounts specified by his fraudster friend. Later, he informed the CID when the gang asked for more money.
Additional DIG Rezaul said, "The information we have gathered shows they have fooled a number of people in various countries including: India, Malaysia, Singapore, Dubai, the Philippines, and Indonesia. The international fraud ring has swindled huge sums of money through their associates and bank accounts in countries by giving so-called gifts."
A case has been filed against them at the Pallabi Police Station, he added.