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Scamsters led by Chinese handlers dupe 15000 Indians of Rs 700 crore

The cash was converted into cryptocurrency after being passed through various Indian bank accounts and, subsequently, routed to China through Dubai

Scamsters led by Chinese handlers dupe

Scamsters led by Chinese handlers dupe 15000 Indians of Rs 700 crore

Sonika Nitin Nimje New Delhi

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A mega fraud involving Chinese citizens has been uncovered by the Hyderabad Police. As per the police, 15,000 Indians were duped of over Rs 700 crore within a year. The cash was directed to China through Dubai and some of it was routed to an account operated by the Lebanon-based terror group Hezbollah, the police added.

"We are alerting central agencies and the cyber crime unit of the Union home ministry has been given the details," Hyderabad Police Chief CV Anand said. The police chief said that it’s possible that part of the transactions was converted into cryptocurrency and deposited into a wallet controlled by Hezbollah. Till now, nine people have been arrested; four from Hyderabad, three from Mumbai and two from Ahmedabad and the police are watching out for at least six more. 

Chinese Scammers: Case study

The Hyderabad Police's cyber crime branch started investigating the case in April after the complaint by an individual who said he had been defrauded of Rs 28 lakh. Further, the police figured out that individuals were tricked for the sake of investment-cum-part-time-jobs. They were approached to do easy tasks i.e. liking YouTube videos or writing Google reviews, and were paid for finishing them.

On an average, the victims have lost Rs 5-6 lakh and they were approached on Telegram and Whatsapp. For a deposit of up to Rs 5,000, they were given significant high returns, involving double the cash for certain cases, after getting done with the initial task, as indicated by the report. The victims were then requested to place in higher amounts in a series of 7-8 transactions. They were conned by a fake window which purportedly showed the cash they had earned, but withdrawing the amount was impossible until the victim completed all the tasks assigned by the handlers.

The report quotes an individual named Shiva, who visited the Hyderabad cyber crime branch in April, saying he had been tricked of Rs 28 lakh by cyber fraudsters. The investigators found 48 bank accounts which had been set up for the sake of shell companies. At that point, the agency accepted that the fraud was to the tune of Rs 584 crores. As the investigation continued, one more Rs 128 crore had been swindled by the scamsters. A sum of 113 Indian bank accounts were utilised in the scam.

Chinese Scammers: Current status 

Post passing through numerous bank accounts, the cash was changed over into cryptocurrency which was then directed to China through Dubai. It says that one such account was for the sake of Hyderabad-based Radhika Marketing Company and was connected to a telephone number enlisted for the sake of one Munawar, who is likewise from the city. 

Munawar had gone to Lucknow with three accomplices named Arul Das, Shah Sumair and Sameer Khan and they opened 65 accounts of 33 shell organisations. For every account, they were paid Rs 2 lakh, and they were arrested after the police followed Munawar. The 65 accounts were then utilized by the masterminds named Kevin Jun, Lee Lou Langzhou and Shasha to move more than Rs 128 crore. 

The transaction details uncover that many of the accounts were being run by a Dubai-based group through remote-access applications. Individuals in the Dubai group had associations with the Chinese network and were transferring money into crypto wallets. The official said three individuals have likewise been captured from Mumbai and they have data about no less than six individuals situated in Dubai who were associated with the scam.

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First Published: Jul 25 2023 | 12:35 PM IST

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